Oral health-related self-efficacy and fatalism in a regional South Australian Aboriginal population

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  • Eleanor J. Parker
  • Andrew J. Spencer
  • Kaye Roberts-Thomson
  • Helen Mills
  • Lisa M. Jamieson


Objectives: To assess the psychometric properties, including face, content, criterion and known-groups validity and reliability, of scales to
measure oral health-related self-efficacy and fatalism in a regional Aboriginal adult population in Australia. Methods: Four hundred Aboriginal
adults (aged 18-82 years, 67% female) completed a self-report questionnaire including items pertaining to oral health-related self-efficacy
and fatalism. Structural validity was determined in exploratory factor analysis (EFA) with principal components analysis for each scale.
Criterion validity was assessed between the instruments and theoretically related variables. Known-groups validity was investigated by
comparing the scores in different population groups according to age, sex, education and employment. Reliability of the scales was assessed
through internal consistency. Results: The EFA confirmed a single factor structure for self-efficacy and fatalism scales, with Cronbach’s
alphas of 0.93 and 0.89 respectively. The two scales were not correlated. Oral health-related self-efficacy was associated with toothbrush
ownership and brushing the previous day supporting criterion validity. Oral health-related fatalism was associated with previous extractions
and perceived need for extractions also supporting criterion validity. Both measures were associated with social impact of oral health as
measured by the OHIP-14, supporting their criterion validity. Mixed findings were observed in terms of known-groups validity. Conclusions:
There was initial evidence that measures of oral health-related self-efficacy and fatalism displayed adequate psychometric properties in
this Aboriginal community. These constructs could have implications for approaches for improving oral health among Aboriginal people.
Keywords: Oral health, self-efficacy, Aboriginal Australians, Social Cognitive Theory

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