How adults conceive of dental health and act to maintain it - a phenomenographic study

Märta Rosenlind

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis (monograph)


The need, for health educational reasons, of obtaining a more adequate understanding of how people think and act in connection with questions of dental health and professional dental care has been emphasized. The present study examines the attitudes and conceptions of adult individuals regarding their own dental health, as well as measures they take to further it. The aim is to elucidate factors that contribute to or hinder changes in people's readiness to maintain or improve their dental health. Eighty persons 20-65 years of age, half of them with and half without a diagnosis of moderate to advanced periodontitis, took part in the investigation. Data collection was of an open and exploratory type, involving semi-structured interviews that were tape-recorded. The data analysis was interpretive and contextual in character, aimed at describing variations and differences in the participants' thinking and the approach they took concerning matters of professional dental care and their own care of their teeth. The results indicate that, for those participants who showed a clear understanding of what maintenance of dental health requires, the conceptions of how dental health can be maintained and the dental health measures taken were characterized by their acquiring and learning of these on their own, whereas the other participants simply relied on the measures taken by the dental health care professionals they consulted. It is suggested that these differences can serve to explain why the treatment of some dental patients is successful in the long run and that of others is not. This is seen as highlighting the importance in dental care of greater attention being directed at the patient's ability to understand and reflect on what is required for success in maintaining one's own dental health.
Translated title of the contributionHow adults conceive of dental health and act to maintain it - a phenomenographic study
Original languageSwedish
Awarding Institution
  • Education
  • [unknown], [unknown], Supervisor, External person
Award date2000 Oct 20
Print ISBNs91-628-4353-2
Publication statusPublished - 2000

Bibliographical note

Defence details

Date: 2000-10-20
Time: 10:15
Place: Carolinasalen, Kungshuset, Lundagård, Lund

External reviewer(s)

Name: Dahlgren, Lars Owe
Title: [unknown]
Affiliation: Department of Psychology and Education, Linköping University


Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Educational Sciences


  • contextual analysis
  • treatment success
  • self care
  • patient attitudes to dental health
  • Education
  • conceptions of dental care
  • Pedagogy and didactics
  • Pedagogik
  • didaktik


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