Participating in decisions about treatment: overt parent pressure for antibiotic medication in pediatric encounters

Soc Sci Med. 2002 Apr;54(7):1111-30. doi: 10.1016/s0277-9536(01)00085-5.


This article examines how parents and pediatricians negotiate antibiotic prescribing decisions in cases where parents overtly advocate this medication. Using the methodology of conversation analysis, this paper examines audio and videotaped acute care pediatric encounters and discusses four primary ways in which parents raise antibiotics in pediatric encounters. These formulations vary in their directness with indirect formulations being more common. The article argues that both parents and physicians are oriented to antibiotics as negotiable in and through their interaction. Finally, in contrast with existing research, this study suggests that overtly advocating for antibiotic treatment is relatively unusual; future research will need to incorporate an understanding of the effect of both explicit and implicit ways parents communicate pressure for prescription treatment.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Child
  • Consumer Advocacy / psychology*
  • Drug Prescriptions
  • Drug Utilization
  • Health Services Needs and Demand
  • Humans
  • Interpersonal Relations
  • Parents / psychology*
  • Pediatrics / methods*
  • Persuasive Communication*
  • Physicians / psychology*
  • Professional Autonomy
  • Professional-Family Relations*
  • United States


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents