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Explaining and reducing the public’s expectations of antibiotics: A utility-based signal detection theory approach

Sirota, Miroslav and Thorpe, Alistair and Juanchich, Marie (2022) 'Explaining and reducing the public’s expectations of antibiotics: A utility-based signal detection theory approach.' Journal of Applied Research in Memory and Cognition. ISSN 2211-3681 (In Press)

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To tackle antibiotic resistance, an unfolding global public health threat, we need to better understand why people expect antibiotics for self-limiting infections because this drives unnecessary consumption of antibiotics. Here, we used a utility-based signal detection theory to explain how people form these expectations by considering their diagnostic uncertainty (e.g., “Is this a bacterial infection?”) and the expected utility they associate with their decisions (e.g., “What are the costs of taking antibiotics?”). To test the explanation, we created two types of interventions—focusing on reducing diagnostic uncertainty and increasing the saliency of costs of overuse (to self and others)—to lower inappropriate expectations of antibiotics. In two pre-registered vignette-based experiments (N=1,773; general UK adult population), both types of interventions decreased expectations and intentions to request antibiotics compared with a baseline group. We discuss how the theory can inform public health campaigns and stimulate further research.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: antibiotics expectations; antibiotics requests; antibiotic resistance; utility-based signal detection theory
Divisions: Faculty of Science and Health
Faculty of Science and Health > Psychology, Department of
SWORD Depositor: Elements
Depositing User: Elements
Date Deposited: 20 Dec 2021 10:18
Last Modified: 03 Jun 2022 06:43

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