Date of Award




Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Department of Psychology


Clinical Psychology

Content Description

1 online resource (vi, 57 pages) : 1 illustration.

Dissertation/Thesis Chair

Lisa M McAndrew

Committee Members

Myrna L Friedlander, L Alison Phillips


Behavior, Common-sense, Communication, Health, Relationship, Self-management, Dentist and patient, Self-care, Health, Communication in dentistry, Dental care, Dental health education

Subject Categories

Counseling Psychology | Dentistry | Health and Physical Education


This study sought to understand how patients’ perceptions of the nature and manner of communication with dental health professionals may impact their health self-management quality and habits in the context of preventable illness. Specifically, this study investigated the distinct and overlapping impacts of (a) communication based in the Common Sense Self-Regulation Model (CSM; Leventhal et al., 1980), and (b) the interpersonal relationship between the patient and the dental health professional provider on patients’ oral hygiene quality and habits. It was hypothesized that the interpersonal relationship would positively moderate a positive relation between CSM-based communication and patients' oral health self-management and strength of oral health self-management habits. A sample (N = 471) of participants were recruited via Amazon’s Mechanical Turk (MTurk) to answer questions about their most recent dental appointment. Participants were largely suburban-dwelling, Caucasian women with a mean age of 35.27 (SD = 11.47) and mean individual income of over $50,000. The findings suggest that dental professionals are regularly having CSM-based communication with their patients, and patients are regularly enacting oral health self-management. Interestingly, contrary to predictions, regression analyses indicated that whereas better dental professional-patient interpersonal relationships predicted better oral health self-management quality, more CSM-based communication at their appointment did not. Future research should focus on populations with less consistently practiced oral health self-management.