Document Type


Date of Degree

Fall 2013

Degree Name

MS (Master of Science)

Degree In

Dental Public Health

First Advisor

Peter Damiano


Oral health disparities in children is an important public health issue in the United States. A growing body of evidence exists supporting the social determinants of oral health, moving beyond individual predictors of disease to family- and community-level influences.

The goal of this study is to examine one such social determinant, social capital, at the family and neighborhood levels and their relationships with oral health in Iowa children. A statewide representative data source, the 2010 Iowa Child and Family Household Health Survey, was analyzed cross-sectionally for child oral health status as the outcome, a four-item index of neighborhood social capital and four separate indicators for family social capital as the main predictors, and seven covariates. Soda consumption was checked as a potential mediator between the social capital variables and oral health status. A significant association was found between oral health status and the neighborhood social capital index (p=0.005) and family frequency of eating meals together (p=0.02) after adjusting for covariates. Neighborhood social capital and family function, a component of family social capital, may independently influence child oral health outcomes.


Dental, Oral Health, Social Capital


vi, 84 pages


Includes bibliographical references (pages 78-84).


Copyright 2013 Julie Reynolds