Acculturation and Subjective Norms Impact Non-Prescription Antibiotic Use among Hispanic Patients in the United States

Antibiotics (Basel). 2023 Sep 8;12(9):1419. doi: 10.3390/antibiotics12091419.


Using antibiotics without medical guidance (non-prescription antibiotic use) may contribute to antimicrobial resistance. Hispanic individuals are a growing demographic group in the United States (US) with a high prevalence of non-prescription antibiotic use. We investigated the effects of acculturation and subjective norms on Hispanic individuals' intentions to use antibiotics without a prescription from the following sources: (1) markets in the United States (not legal), (2) other countries (abroad), (3) leftovers from previous prescriptions, and (4) friends/relatives. We surveyed self-identified Hispanic outpatients in eight clinics from January 2020 to June 2021 using the previously validated Short Acculturation Scale for Hispanics (SASH). Of the 263 patients surveyed, 47% reported previous non-prescription use, and 54% expressed intention to use non-prescription antibiotics if feeling sick. Individuals with lower acculturation (Spanish-speaking preferences) expressed greater intentions to use antibiotics from abroad and from any source. Individuals with more friends/relatives who obtain antibiotics abroad were over 2.5 times more likely to intend to use non-prescription antibiotics from friends/relatives (p = 0.034). Other predictors of intention to use non-prescription antibiotics included high costs of doctor visits and perceived language barriers in the clinic. Antibiotic stewardship interventions in Hispanic communities in the United States should consider the sociocultural and healthcare barriers influencing non-prescription use and promote language-concordant healthcare.

Keywords: acculturation; antibiotic resistance; antibiotic stewardship; non-prescription antibiotic use; socio-cultural factors; subjective norms.