Skip to main content

News

New study examines parental decisions on child antibiotic use

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.

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.

Australia’s rates of antibiotic use among children under nine years are about three times higher than comparable countries such as Norway and the Netherlands.

“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.

Data from the Review on Antimicrobial Resistance estimates there will be approximately 10 million deaths each year by 2050 due to antimicrobial resistance, of which resistance to antibiotics is predominant.

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.

“Parents from remote and rural areas with limited access to healthcare professionals might be influenced more by the advice from people around them.”

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

“This information from parents provides valuable insight and findings could inform follow-up studies or might provide guidance for future health initiatives on how to enhance the use of antibiotics.”

Related Articles

  • A study from Charles Darwin University (CDU) and Griffith University reveals that good past experiences help to drive growth in Australia’s tourism industry.

    Australia’s tourism focus needs a shift as China’s interest wanes, experts warn

    Australia should push to attract tourists from its traditional markets, such as Japan, to mitigate any fall in tourist numbers from China, economists say.

    Read more about Australia’s tourism focus needs a shift as China’s interest wanes, experts warn
  • The CDU First Nations Success website aims to promote research that improves higher education outcomes for First Nations students studying at CDU and to improve rates of First Nations students entering into education degrees in the Territory.

    New research to support First Nations students in the Territory

    New research from Charles Darwin University (CDU) aims at further improving higher education outcomes for First Nations students and to bolster the rates of First Nations students commencing teaching degrees in the Territory.

    Read more about New research to support First Nations students in the Territory
  • Aerial view of CDU Alice Springs campus

    New Alice Springs demography insights to be unveiled at CDU Open Day

    Analysis of the latest demographic data shows the Alice Springs population is larger than previously thought, at 28,601, ageing, female-dominated and increasingly multicultural.

    Read more about New Alice Springs demography insights to be unveiled at CDU Open Day