Thesis Title

How Predisposing and Enabling Factors Contribute to Oral Health Needs among Low-Income Rural Adults

Date of Graduation

Fall 2007


Master of Science in Nursing



Committee Chair

Kathryn Hope


attitudes, predisposing, enabling, need variables, dental care, low-income rural population

Subject Categories



Current research supports a link between poor dental health and systemic diseases (Pihlstrom et al., 2005). Several studies have demonstrated a relationship between low socio-economic status and negative oral health attitudes and worsening oral hygiene. At this time, no research exists to measure predisposing variables in the form of attitudes among low-income rural adults, and how these variables contribute to dental hygiene. The purpose of this study was to determine whether predisposing and/or enabling variables have an effect on need variables, as identified in the Florida Dental Care Study. This replicated correlational study used a convenience sample (N=36) of individuals in a predominantly low-income, rural area who accessed a local health clinic. The findings of the study were that dental health attitudes (e.g., towards dental health, dentists, and dental health prevention) were more strongly correlated with the oral health need variables (e.g., symptoms of dental health) than were the enabling variables (e.g., access and financial resources). Although the population had generally favorable attitudes toward dentists they lack the finances to access dental care but not the value of dental care. Implications of the study are to continue research in the area using larger sample sizes and varied samples, and to address access issues.


© Mary Ann Coverdell