HealthDay News — Clinician communication and prescribing behavior reinforce parents’ understanding of antibiotic treatment, according to a study published in the March/April issue of the Annals of Family Medicine.

Christie Cabral, PhD, from the University of Bristol in the United Kingdom, and colleagues recorded 60 primary care consultations for children aged 3 months to 12 years who presented with respiratory tract infection and cough. Purposive sampling was used to choose 27 parents and 13 clinicians for semistructured video-elicitation interviews. Interview data were analyzed thematically.

The researchers found that although clinicians frequently told parents that antibiotics are not effective against viruses, this had limited impact on parents’ beliefs about antibiotics. Parents felt that antibiotics were needed for treatment of more severe illness; this was supported by the clinicians’ use of problem-minimizing language for viral diagnoses and problem-oriented language for antibiotic prescriptions. Prescription of antibiotics generally confirmed parents’ beliefs about illness severity, which often accounted for the wider impact on a child’s life. Parents had poor understanding of antimicrobial resistance, but most held beliefs that supported reducing antibiotic prescribing.

“Clinician communication and prescribing behavior confirm parents’ beliefs that antibiotics are needed to treat more severe illnesses,” the authors write. “Interventions to reduce antibiotic expectations need to address communication within the consultation, prescribing behavior, and lay beliefs.”

Full Text