Effects of the Conceptual Model of Health Literacy as a Risk: A Randomised Controlled Trial in a Clinical Dental Context
Numerous conceptual models of health literacy have been proposed in the literature, but very few have been empirically validated in clinical contexts. The aim of this study was to test the effects of the conceptual model of health literacy as a risk in a clinical dental context. A convenience sample of 133 Norwegian-speaking adults was recruited. Participants were randomly allocated to an intervention group (n = 64, 54% women, mean age = 50 years) and a control group (n = 69, 49% women, mean age = 46 years). Clinical measurements were conducted pre-intervention and six months post-intervention. In the intervention group, communication regarding patients' oral health was tailored to their health literacy levels using recommended communication techniques, whereas the control group received brief information not tailored to health literacy levels. The ANCOVA showed significant between-group effects, finding reduced post-intervention mean gingival (p < 0.000) and mean plaque (p < 0.000) indices in the intervention group when controlling for baseline index scores. The adjusted Cohen's d indicated large effect sizes between the intervention group and the control group for both the mean gingival index (-0.98) and the mean plaque index (-1.33). In conclusion, the conceptual model of health literacy as a risk had a large effect on important clinical outcomes, such as gingival status and oral hygiene. The model may be regarded as a suitable supplement to patient education in populations.