The purpose of the present study was to answer the question of whether experiences of shame, guilt and body investment can explain such the association between BMI, oral health behaviours and status in an undergraduate student population-based sample.
The study was performed on a sample of 150 first year medical students (19.62 +/- 2.62 years old). Data were collected through a self-administered questionnaire, Weight- and Body-Related Shame and Guilt Scale and Body Investment Scale.
61.3% of students were of normal weight, 21.3% were underweight and 11.3% were overweight. Statistically significant differences were observed between males and females regarding the body mass index (P < 0.0001) and WEB-shame (P < 0.0001). Among females, statically significant higher values of WEB-Shame, WEB-Guilt and lower levels of Body investment were noted among normal weight compared with under-weight students (P < 0.05). The normal-weight female and underweight participants reported statistically significant different frequency of gingival involvement (P < 0.05). Among males, WEB-S was correlated with satisfaction by appearance of own teeth, current extracted teeth and self-reported gum bleeding, while WEB-G, self-reported current extracted teeth, toothbrushing and mouthrinse frequency were also correlated. Among females, WEB-S was correlated with flossing and dental visit frequency. The structural equation model demonstrated a good fit among female students but not among males.
These findings highlight the importance of targeting and understanding the realm of body-related self-conscious emotions and the associated links to regulations and health investment behavior.