Dental conditions have the potential to impact negatively on children’s oral health-related quality of life (OHRQoL). However, little attempt has been made to investigate how psychosocial variables and significant life events affect children’s OHRQoL. This research aimed to explore how children’s dental status, coping, and self-esteem influenced OHRQoL during transition to secondary school.
All patients were undergoing treatment at a UK Dental Hospital. Self-report questionnaires obtained psychosocial data on self-esteem, coping styles and OHRQoL and were completed by children 3 months prior to secondary school entry and 3 months following educational transition. Data were extracted from the clinical records of the paediatric patients who agreed to participate in the research.
A total of 92 children aged between 10 and 11 years participated at baseline (43% response rate) and 71 of these children participated in the follow-up investigation (77% response rate). Multiple lagged regression analyses revealed that clinical variables and children’s self-perception of their physical appearance were significant predictors of OHRQoL following transition to secondary school.
Children who were satisfied with their physical appearance reported fewer impacts on their OHRQoL. The mechanisms through which this domain of self-esteem impacts on OHRQoL warrants further investigation.