Changing parental attitudes and behaviors towards child health care (completed)

The efficacy of Motivational Interviewing


About the project

The long-term objective of this research is to reduce the prevalence of child diseases such as caries and overweight in high risk populations, by changing the health-related behavior of the parents.

Specific Aims

The aim of this research is to evaluate the effectiveness of Motivational Interviewing (MI) as a health promotion instrument used to change health behavior among parents of young children with high risk of caries and overweight, and different cultural backgrounds. The MI approach will be compared to traditional health information given by public health nurses. Interventions aimed at reducing oral diseases should easily be adjusted to also focus on the increasing overweight problems among children. Dental professionals are in a position to be the first persons to raise awareness of these problems for the parent/ child, and focus on diet is already established as a major part of the caries prevention. Given the ineffectiveness of current health education, behavioral techniques that structure and assist parents in the process of diet change may reduce both oral disease (caries) and overweight among children.

Research design and methods

Design A clinical trial with an experimental and control condition will be employed. The study will include two parts, Study 1 (baseline) and Study 2 (clinical trial).

Study 1 The first study will be a baseline study where the aim is to evaluate the current health information provided by public health nurses to parents of 1-year-old children. The study sample will be a selection of child health centers in the county of Akershus.

Study 2 To avoid having to implement two different conditions among public health nurses in the same health center, the randomized design was departed, and the trial was divided in Part 1 and 2.

  • Part 1 (Control condition). Control subjects will receive the current health information provided by the public health nurses (based on Study 1). Parents to the 1-year-old children will be included consecutively over a time period until the sufficient sample size is reached.
  • Part 2 (Experimental condition). All the public health nurses that participated in the control condition will, after being educated in the brief MI technique, change their routines and start to implement the experimental condition. Subjects The health centers will be included consecutively based on a randomized list. The numbers of health centers included will depend on the yearly recruitment of 1-year-olds in each center. All parents of 1-year-old children that are called to the health centers to participate in the statutory control (child age 1 year) will be consecutively enrolled into the study.


Study 1 is finished and will be published. The project is financed by The Norwegian Directorate of Health and The faculty of dentistry, Institute for clinical dentistry, University of Oslo.

Tags: Health promotion and disease prevention, Motivational interviewing, Child overweight, Child caries, Health behavior change
Published Oct. 6, 2010 2:01 PM - Last modified Oct. 25, 2021 12:23 PM


Erik Skaret