Monday, 12 September 2022
Charles Darwin University
E-news
New research at Charles Darwin University (CDU) aims to understand what influences parental decisions about giving their children antibiotics.
New research at Charles Darwin University (CDU) aims to understand what influences parental decisions about giving their children antibiotics.

New study examines parental decisions on child antibiotic use

A new study at Charles Darwin University (CDU) aims to find out what affects parental decisions when giving their children antibiotic medicine.

The research by CDU Lecturers in Psychology Professor Mitchell Byrne, Dr Sara Parsafar and master’s by research student Stephanie Marsh will provide insights into parent-related attitudes and beliefs and relevant social and contextual factors that might influence parents’ decisions about using antibiotics.

The authors are collecting qualitative data through focus groups with parents from Katherine, Alice Springs, Tennant Creek and Nhulunbuy in the Northern Territory to explore their perspectives.

The researchers focus on how parents living in rural and remote areas with limited access to healthcare make decisions about their children’s health needs and the use of antibiotics.

Ms Marsh said the research goal was to determine what factors influence parent attitudes and decisions when using antibiotics.

“Through the study, we hope to get a baseline of parental attitudes about child antibiotic use, what they think about the benefits, concerns parents may have and what impacts their decisions,” Ms Marsh said.

“In Australia, there is currently limited research exploring attitudes and beliefs, social and contextual factors that might contribute to antibiotic use amongst parents with children living in rural or remote locations.”

According to the Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Healthcare, antibiotics use is highest in the elderly and children between birth and nine years of age.

“Antibiotics are commonly used to treat bacterial infections, but the overuse or misuse of antibiotics could result in the bacteria mutating faster, making antibiotics ineffective,” Ms Marsh said.

The researchers predict several factors could affect parental decisions about antibiotic use, such as the opinions of important people around the parents, cultural considerations, and existing knowledge.

“Parents have been found to make decisions about their children’s antibiotic use based on advice from their social group or support network,” Ms Marsh said.

“Through our research, we want to understand parental antibiotic use with their children and what drives decisions and practices.”