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The role of information in the reduction of clinically inappropriate expectations of antibiotics

Thorpe, Alistair (2019) The role of information in the reduction of clinically inappropriate expectations of antibiotics. PhD thesis, University of Essex.


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People often expect antibiotics when they are clinically inappropriate (i.e., for viral infections). This motivates physicians to prescribe antibiotics unnecessarily, causing harm to the individual and to society. To effectively reduce inappropriate expectations for antibiotics it is important to first understand how they are formed and maintained by members of the general public. Thus, the overarching aim of this thesis is to provide insight into how information about illnesses and antibiotics affects inappropriate expectations for antibiotics. The studies reported in this thesis examine how information affects individuals’ expectations for antibiotics alongside illness representations and prior beliefs (Studies 1 and 2), in the context of trust in the health professional providing the information (Studies 3 and 4), and in the presence of a specific mechanism that might prevent the effect of information provision (Studies 5 to 8). The findings from these studies highlight the complex combination of variables (including: prior knowledge about the illness and antibiotics, social norm perceptions, and affective beliefs) that are associated with inappropriate expectations for antibiotics and provide novel evidence on the causal effect of information provision at reducing, but not eliminating inappropriate antibiotic expectations (Studies 1 and 2). Furthermore, these findings demonstrate how the degree to which people trust the medical professional who is providing the information moderates the effect of information (Studies 3 and 4) and proffer that an action bias can explain why some people do not respond as expected to complete information designed to reduce inappropriate expectations for antibiotics (Studies 5 to 8).

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Divisions: Faculty of Science and Health > Psychology, Department of
Depositing User: Alistair Thorpe
Date Deposited: 30 Oct 2019 09:37
Last Modified: 30 Oct 2019 09:37

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