Parents' perspectives on otitis media and antibiotics. A qualitative study

Scand J Prim Health Care. 2002 Mar;20(1):35-9. doi: 10.1080/028134302317282725.


Background: Judicious use of antibiotics is an important factor in decreasing the current increase in bacterial resistance. Discussion with patients and their guardians on whether to use antibiotics or not can be expected to increase in the future.

Objective: To explore the views and feelings of parents of children with acute otitis media towards the disease and its treatment.

Design: A qualitative study with semi-structured interviews.

Subjects: Twenty-one parents of pre-school children with newly diagnosed acute otitis media who had attended a primary care centre in Reykjavik.

Results: The parents did not consider the disease a threat. They generally thought the disease was caused by environmental factors or by a disturbance in body mechanism. The majority thought that treatment with antibiotics could harm their children.

Conclusion: The parents of young children hold views on acute otitis media and antibiotics which are markedly different from the medical model.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acute Disease
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / adverse effects
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Attitude to Health*
  • Causality
  • Child, Preschool
  • Drug Utilization / standards
  • Educational Status
  • Family Practice / organization & administration*
  • Female
  • Health Education
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice
  • Humans
  • Iceland
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Models, Psychological
  • Needs Assessment
  • Otitis Media / diagnosis
  • Otitis Media / drug therapy*
  • Otitis Media / etiology
  • Parents / education*
  • Parents / psychology*
  • Practice Patterns, Physicians' / standards
  • Primary Health Care / organization & administration*
  • Qualitative Research
  • Surveys and Questionnaires


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents