The objectives of this study were to assess the relationship between Locus of Control (LoC) and oral health among a group of rural adolescent school children and to examine the influence of socioeconomic status (SES) on the association between health, LoC and oral health status. A total of 318 children 15 years of age from a public and private school formed the study population. The children were administered following the Indian translation of the 18-item Multidimensional Health Locus of Control scale, and subsequently examined for caries and oral hygiene. T tests and correlation analyses showed a significant relationship between higher ‘Internal Locus of Control and dental caries. A hierarchical multiple regression analysis was performed to assess the effect of socioeconomic status on LoC and oral health using three interaction models which showed a statistically significant interaction between ‘Internal LoC and socioeconomic status on caries. Socioeconomic stratum-specific estimates of the relationship between the LoC and caries revealed a positive association between Internal LoC and caries in the middle socioeconomic group. The results demonstrated the relationship between Locus of Control and oral health, and the role of socioeconomic status having a strong bearing on this relationship.
Keywords: Locus of Control, oral health, socioeconomic status