Life events and oral-health-related quality of life among young adults

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Life-course approaches to understanding the determinants of health have led to a greater focus on the effects of life events on health. Life events may be construed as either positive or negative, and may have differential health effects. The aims of the study were to assess the association of positive and negative life events with oral-health-related quality of life (OHRQoL).


In 2005–2006, 1,859 study participants aged around 30 years old were surveyed by mailed self-complete questionnaire and invited to attend a dental examination. Data collected included life events, social support (MSPSS) and OHRQoL (OHIP-14). A total of 632 people responded (43% response).


Multivariate analysis controlling for sex, education, income, dental behaviour and social support showed that the lower (OR = 0.4, 0.2–0.6) and middle tertiles (OR = 0.6, 0.4–0.9) for negative life events were associated with lower prevalence of problems related to OHRQoL compared to the higher tertile.


OHRQoL among young adults was associated with negative life events, but not positive life events. This suggests that negative life events involving social readjustment need to considered as determinants of health in life-course oral epidemiology frameworks.

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