Motivation and Emotion

, Volume 34, Issue 1, pp 15–33 | Cite as

Motivation and anxiety for dental treatment: Testing a self-determination theory model of oral self-care behaviour and dental clinic attendance

  • Anne E. Münster HalvariEmail author
  • Hallgeir Halvari
  • Gunnar Bjørnebekk
  • Edward L. Deci
Original Paper


The present study: (1) developed a Self-Regulation Questionnaire for Dental Treatment (SRQDT) based on Self-Determination Theory (SDT; Deci and Ryan, Psychol Inq 11:227–268, 2000), and (2) used it to test a SDT process model of oral self-care behaviours and dental clinic attendance. Patients’ perceptions of autonomy supportive (relative to controlling) dental professionals were expected to be positively associated with patients’ psychological needs satisfaction in treatment, which was expected to be positively related to relative autonomous motivation for dental treatment and perceived dental competence, and negatively related to anxiety for dental treatment. In turn, relative autonomous motivation for dental treatment and perceived dental competence were expected to be positively associated with oral self-care behaviours and dental clinic attendance. Anxiety for dental treatment was expected to be negatively related to dental clinic attendance and positively linked to putting off making a dental clinic appointment. Confirmatory factor analysis of the 5 factor SRQDT model fit the data very well, and a structural equation model supported the hypothesized process model.


Oral self-care Self-determination theory Dental clinic attendance 


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Anne E. Münster Halvari
    • 1
    Email author
  • Hallgeir Halvari
    • 2
  • Gunnar Bjørnebekk
    • 3
  • Edward L. Deci
    • 4
  1. 1.Faculty of Odontology, Department of Dental Hygienist EducationUniversity of OsloOsloNorway
  2. 2.Buskerud University CollegeBuskerudNorway
  3. 3.The Norwegian Centre for Child Behavioral DevelopmentOsloNorway
  4. 4.University of RochesterRochesterUSA

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