Theoretical evidence explaining the relationship between socio-demographic and psychosocial barriers on access to oral health care among adults: A scoping review.

Affiliation

Shahid M(1), Shum JH(2), Tadakamadla SK(3), Kroon J(2), Peres MA(4).
Author information:
(1)School of Dentistry and Oral Health, Griffith University, Gold Coast Campus, Queensland, Australia. Electronic address: [Email]
(2)School of Dentistry and Oral Health, Griffith University, Gold Coast Campus, Queensland, Australia.
(3)National Health and Medical Research Council Early Career Fellow, School of Dentistry and Oral Health, Griffith University, Gold Coast Campus, Queensland, Australia; Menzies Health Institute, Queensland, Australia.
(4)National Dental Research Institute, Oral Health ACP, Health Services and Systems Research Program, Duke-NUS Medical School, Tiong Bahru, Singapore.

Abstract

OBJECTIVES: Current global models for oral health care are outdated. Out of pocket payments and exclusion from most national health systems has created a gap for access of services by socio-economically vulnerable adults. Our objective is to understand barriers to access and the causal associations between barriers to care. DATA: All study designs with a theoretical/conceptual framework to explain access and barriers among adults were included. SOURCES: 6 electronic databases (PubMed, Medline (EBSCO), CINAHL, Embase, Web of Science) including grey literature searches (ProQuest) and expert consultation. The identified studies were then analysed using narrative synthesis and NVivo. STUDY SELECTION/RESULTS: 40 studies using a theoretical framework to explain access among adults were identified. Andersen's behavioural model was most used. Cost was the primary causal factor that perpetuated the effect of other barriers. Associations were found between age and education level, cost and need, cost and dental anxiety. Study design and analysis used to identify these associations had limitations in determining causality. CONCLUSION: Oral health access research is based in theory, leading to the identification of socio-demographic and psychosocial barriers and their relationships. However, a lack of explanation of causal associations persists. This review recognises the importance of understanding the cause of barriers in addition to their nature. Appropriate study designs and analysis considering the impact of time varying factors on access is required. Empirical analysis needs to focus on the role of confounders and mediators to determine causality successfully. To achieve this a theory driven causal model has been proposed.