Summary Review/Oral health

Short-term improvement in oral self-care of adolescents with social-cognitive theory-guided intervention

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Cluster randomised controlled trial.


Clusters of adolescents (classrooms of 15- to 16-year-olds) in each school were allocated either into a control group or into an intervention group. The interventions consisted of peer cooperation (peer support) and peer interactive learning (observational learning) facilitated through feedback from a dentist (professional support). Three intervention sessions with preselected pairs of adolescents were delivered in the first three weeks. Gender, family socio-economic status (baseline) and different social-cognitive domain variables (baseline, six, and 12 months) were assessed using a questionnaire.

Outcome measure

Dental plaque levels were the primary outcome measure and they were measured at baseline, after the intervention measured only in the social-cognitive theory-guided group, at six and 12 months.


At the six-month follow-up there was a statistically significant difference in means ± SD between the social-cognitive intervention group (27.4 ± 19.4) and the control group (35.1 ± 20.0). At the 12-month follow-up, there was no statistically significant difference in means ± SD between the social-cognitive intervention group (27.4 ± 18.5) and the control group (31.9 ± 17.8). Variations in dental plaque levels at different time periods were explained by the following predictors: family's socio-economic status, social-cognitive domain variables, group affiliation and baseline plaque levels.


Social-cognitive theory-guided interventions improved oral self-care of adolescents in the short term. This improvement lasted only for five months after the intervention was discontinued.

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Additional information

Address for correspondence: Dr Jolanta Aleksejuniene, Department of Oral Health Sciences, Faculty of Dentistry, The University of British Columbia, 2199 Wesbrook Mall, Vancouver, BC Canada V6T 1Z3. E-mail:

Aleksejūnienė J, Brukienė V, Džiaugyte L, Pečiulienė V, Bendinskaitė R. A theory-guided school-based intervention in order to improve adolescents' oral self-care: a cluster randomized trial. Int J Paediatr Dent 2015; 16. doi: 10.1111/ipd.12164. [Epub ahead of print] PubMed PMID: 25877514.

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