Self-regulation in oral hygiene behaviours in adults with gingivitis: the mediating role of coping planning and action control

Mário Rui Araújo*, Maria João Alvarez, Cristina A. Godinho, Tânia Almeida, Cícero R. Pereira

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Aim: This study investigates the joint role of volitional predictors of oral hygiene behaviours of flossing and brushing in adults with gingivitis, framed by the Health Action Process Approach model (HAPA). Materials and Methods: In a longitudinal online survey, 201 participants aged 18-75, of which 56.7% were women, completed assessments at baseline(T1), 2 weeks(T2) and 4 months(T3). Oral hygiene behaviours(OH) (brushing and flossing) and social cognitive determinants of behaviour in the HAPA: action and maintenance self-efficacy(ASE & MSE), intention(INT), coping planning(CP) and action control(AC) were evaluated. Structural equation modelling was used to test a series of three nested models. In Model 1, action self-efficacy would determine MSE and INT, and INT would determine OH; in Model 2, INT would determine both CP and AC and the two OH behaviours; and in Model 3, CP and AC would be sequential mediators between INT and OH. Results: Model 3, predicting a mediating process from intention to behaviour via coping planning and action control, showed the best fit according to the fit indices and explained more of the variance in dental hygiene. The mediating role of coping planning and action control between intention and oral hygiene behaviours was thus confirmed. Importantly, coping planning did not mediate between intention and oral hygiene behaviours, which means that oral hygiene intention influences action control through coping planning, and both sequentially mediate this influence on behaviour. Conclusions: For individuals who are not yet following the recommendations for specific oral hygiene behaviours, coping planning and action control represent psychological mechanisms by which intentions are put into practice.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)192-200
Number of pages9
JournalInternational Journal of Dental Hygiene
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • Behavioural science
  • Gingival health
  • Oral hygiene
  • Psychosocial determinants of oral health
  • Self-regulation


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