Measuring beliefs about orthodontic treatment: A questionnaire approach

M. Elizabeth Bennett, Christine Michaels, Kevin O'Brien, Robert Weyant, Ceib Phillips, Katherine Dryland Vig

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    Objectives: Few studies have examined what parents and orthodontists expect from and value about orthodontic treatment. In this study, we designed and tested a questionnaire to outline what drives consumer demand for children's orthodontic care. Further, we present data from the questionnaire to illustrate how expectations and values pertaining to orthodontic treatment relate to sociodemographic variables. Methods: Subjects were 220 Pennsylvania orthodontists and 220 parents at a university orthodontic clinic who were administered a questionnaire designed to assess what parents and orthodontists value about and expect from orthodontic treatment Items for the questionnaire were developed via a qualitative, telephone interview process. Data were analyzed using factor analysis and reliability analysis for scale development, and analysis of variance for preliminary validity assessment. Results: Through factor analysis, the questionnaire was reduced from 84 to 52 items, and eight scales were examined: expected treatment benefits, expected treatment risks (short- and long-term), expected treatment inconveniences, value of treatment benefits, value of risks (short- and long-term), and value of treatment inconveniences. For parents, the reliability for all scales was in the acceptable range. For orthodontists, only the "short-term risks" scale failed to attain an acceptable reliability. Preliminary validity was assessed through examining relationships between demographic variables and subscale scores. For parents, income, father's education level, and sex of respondent were related to treatment expectations and values. For orthodontists, age, sex, and patient volume were related to treatment values. Conclusions: The questionnaire developed In the present study was found to be practical and reliable for use with providers and consumers of orthodontic care and can be used to explore factors affecting the demand for orthodontic care. Implications of possible unrealistic treatment expectations on the part of orthodontists and parents also are discussed.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)215-223
    Number of pages8
    JournalJournal of Public Health Dentistry
    Issue number4
    Publication statusPublished - Sep 1997


    • Factor analysis
    • Orthodontics
    • Questionnaire
    • Reliability
    • Treatment risks/benefits


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