With the high risk of dental trauma in contact sports, it is important that all athletes have a strong foundation of how to prevent such injuries. Properly fitted mouthguards are the best available protective equipment to prevent orofacial trauma; however, previous research has found them underutilized, with the need for evidence-based interventions to promote mouthguard use among athletes. This study used a descriptive, cross-sectional, correlational research design, focusing on studying collegiate athletes at one large, Midwestern university, to determine their current attitudes, perceptions, self-efficacy, and behaviors of mouthguard use during participation in a contact sport. A convenience sampling technique was used to select the sample of athletes. A 12-item survey was used to assess their perceptions and behaviors of mouthguard use, using the Health Belief Model and adjusted questions from two instruments from previous studies. Most participants reported that they do not have a mouthguard, and a small percentage of those who did have one do not always wear them. A higher level of perceived risks, perceived benefits, and self-efficacy was found, despite the lack of behaviors. The most common reason given for not wearing a mouthguard was that they are not required, and the majority of participants responded that no one has influenced them to wear a mouthguard. Further studies regarding what athletes understand about the importance of mouthguards will help create more effective interventions to promote them.


Emily Forsyth

Committee Member

Joseph Visker

Committee Member

Brigette Cooper

Date of Degree




Document Type



Master of Science (MS)


Health Science


Allied Health and Nursing



Rights Statement

In Copyright