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01-11-2014 | Uitgave 9/2014

Quality of Life Research 9/2014

Assessing individual and neighborhood social factors in child oral health-related quality of life: a multilevel analysis

Quality of Life Research > Uitgave 9/2014
Renata Saraiva Guedes, Chaiana Piovesan, José Leopoldo Ferreira Antunes, Fausto Medeiros Mendes, Thiago Machado Ardenghi



It has been suggested that subjective measures of oral health are influenced by both individual and contextual characteristics. This study assessed the relationship between neighborhood and individual social networks and child oral health-related quality of life (COHRQoL).


This study followed a cross-sectional design using a multistage sample of 478 children aged 1–5 years old. Caregivers completed the Brazilian version of the Early Childhood Oral Health Impact Scale (ECOHIS) and answered questions related to socioeconomic status and social network. The dental examination provided information on the prevalence of dental caries, dental trauma, and occlusion. Contextual social determinants included the presence of cultural community centers and of workers’ association in the neighborhood. Data analysis considered the total ECOHIS scores as the outcome and neighborhood/individual social networks as the independent variables. A multilevel Poisson regression model was used to investigate the association among individual and contextual characteristics and COHRQoL.


Total ECOHIS scores ranged from 0 to 41 (possible range 0–52). The mean ECOHIS score was low (mean = 1.8, SD = 3.9), and the functional domain presented the highest mean impact on COHRQoL (mean = 0.5, SD = 1.4). Following adjusted analysis, low household income, visiting a neighbor less than once a month, the presence of anterior open bite, dental trauma, and dental caries were identified as individual determinants of negative impact on a child’s quality of life. These variables remained associated with the outcome even after adding the contextual-level variables in the model. At the contextual level, the presence of community cultural centers was associated with overall mean ECOHIS score; higher impacts on COHRQoL were observed in those living in neighborhoods without cultural community centers.


There is a significant association between individual and contextual social determinants and COHRQoL; unfavorable social conditions and poor socioeconomic status have a negative impact on caregiver reports of children’s oral health-related quality of life.

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