Background: Mexican immigrants in the United States suffer from poor oral health. The objective of the current study was to explore the utility of applying theory-based factors associated with seeking preventive dental care in a sample of Mexican American adults. Methods: Data were collected from a cross-sectional survey of a sample of 157 people of Mexican origin (64% female; age 34±11 years) recruited primarily from church congregations and lay community organizations in Central Indiana. Using the Integrative Model of Behavioral Prediction as the guiding framework, structural equation modeling was used to test factors associated with intention to seek preventive dental care. Results: Attitude towards seeking preventive dental care (estimate=0.37; p<.0001) and self-efficacy for seeking preventive dental care (estimate=0.68; p<.0001) were associated with intention to seek preventive dental care. The association between dental beliefs and intention to seek preventive dental care was mediated by attitude and self-efficacy (indirect effect=0.26, p=.002), and the association between past behavior and intention to seek preventive dental care was mediated by self-efficacy (indirect effect=0.26, p=.003). Conclusions: These findings suggest that interventions to increase preventive dental care seeking behavior among Mexican Americans should focus on changing attitudes toward seeking preventive dental care and on increasing self-efficacy to seek preventive dental care. Findings also support the use of interventions to influence dental beliefs.
- Health behavior
- Integrative model of behavioral prediction
- Oral health
- Preventive care
ASJC Scopus subject areas