Illness Perception in Older Adults (R21)


Many older adults believe that oral disease is an inevitable consequence of aging. Further, barriers to care limit access to self-help knowledge and the failure to seek care exacerbates the problems that develop. A major gap is the lack of a measure that captures the concept of older adult’s cognitive and emotional representation (perception) of oral diseases. Most behavioral interventions aimed at improving knowledge have had limited success in older adults. This study will produce a validated illness perception questionnaire that would be helpful for oral health researchers to identity and design. In the future, dental clinicians may use a short form version of this questionnaire as a risk assessment tool to educate older adults about their oral disease.


To develop a measure of illness perception in older adults aged 62 years and older.

Project Team

Shelly Curtan

Shelley Curtan, MEd

Project Manager and Outreach Staff for Caledonia and Superior





Denise Feyes

Denise Feyes, BS

Project Outreach Staff for Independent Living Homes