Knowledge and beliefs of primary care physicians, pharmacists, and parents on antibiotic use for the pediatric common cold

Soc Sci Med. 2004 Feb;58(3):623-9. doi: 10.1016/s0277-9536(03)00231-4.


The aim of this study is to investigate knowledge and beliefs of primary care physicians (e.g. family practitioners and pediatricians), pharmacists, and parents regarding the use of antibiotics for the pediatric common cold, using a self-administered questionnaire for physicians and pharmacists and a telephone interview for parents. This article suggests that parents' expectation for antibiotics is a minor factor, and health care providers' unfounded beliefs in the effectiveness of antibiotics and exaggeration of parents' demand for antibiotics may be the major contributing factor underlying antibiotic over-prescription for the pediatric common cold in Korea. Most physicians and pharmacists knew the correct cause of the pediatric common cold, but majorities of the physicians and pharmacists believed that antibiotics could treat and reduce its complications. On the other hand, 34% of the parents believed that antibiotics could prevent complications. Seventy three per cent of the physicians reported that they perceived expectations for antibiotics from parents, but only 2% of the parents reported asking their physicians for antibiotics. In summary, this study suggests that physicians' knowledge and faulty beliefs can be more important factors for inappropriate antibiotic prescription.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Common Cold / complications
  • Common Cold / drug therapy*
  • Drug Prescriptions
  • Drug Utilization / standards
  • Female
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice*
  • Health Services Research
  • Humans
  • Korea
  • Male
  • Parents / psychology*
  • Pharmacists / psychology*
  • Physicians, Family / psychology*
  • Primary Health Care
  • Random Allocation
  • Surveys and Questionnaires


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents