More physician consultations and antibiotic prescriptions in families with high concern about infectious illness-adequate response to infection-prone child or self-fulfilling prophecy?

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Background. Respiratory tract infections (RTI) in children is the most common cause of prescription of antibiotics. It is important to describe and analyse non-medical factors in order to develop more rational use of antibiotics. Objectives. To compare families with high and low concern about infectious illness with regard to social variables, perception of infection proneness and beliefs in antibiotics and to relate the concern for infectious illness to reported morbidity, physician consultations and antibiotic prescriptions for the 18-month-old child in the family. Methods. A prospective, population-based survey was performed. During 1 month, all infectious symptoms, physician consultations and antibiotic treatments for 18-month-old children were noted. The 818 families also answered questions about their socio-economic situation, illness perception and concern about infectious illness. Results. High concern about infectious illness was associated with more frequent physicians consultations and more prescriptions of antibiotics. There was no significant difference in reported days with symptoms of RTI, but the parents more often experienced their children with RTI without fever as being ill. The variables of infection proneness in the child, inadequate beliefs in antibiotics and the factor of being the only child were important explanatory factors for concern about infectious illness. Conclusions. High concern about infectious illness is an important determining factor for physician consultations and antibiotic prescription for small children. An adequate consultation, where the doctor deals with the parents' worries and gives appropriate information about symptoms and disease, might contribute to less antibiotic prescribing with preserved parental satisfaction.


  • Malin Andre
  • Katarina Hedin
  • Anders Håkansson
  • Sigvard Moelstad
  • Nils Rodhe
  • Christer Petersson
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Family Medicine


  • attitudes to health, anti-bacterial agents, child, preschool, parents, respiratory tract infections
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)302-307
JournalFamily Practice
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2007
Publication categoryResearch