Driving sustainable change in antimicrobial prescribing practice: how can social and behavioural sciences help?

Fabiana Lorencatto (Lead / Corresponding author), Esmita Charani, Nick Sevdalis, Carolyn Tarrant, Peter Davey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

85 Citations (Scopus)
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Addressing the growing threat of antimicrobial resistance is, in part, reliant on the complex challenge of changing human behaviour-in terms of reducing inappropriate antibiotic use and preventing infection. Whilst there is no 'one size fits all' recommended behavioural solution for improving antimicrobial stewardship, the behavioural and social sciences offer a range of theories, frameworks, methods and evidence-based principles that can help inform the design of behaviour change interventions that are context-specific and thus more likely to be effective. However, the state-of-the-art in antimicrobial stewardship research and practice suggests that behavioural and social influences are often not given due consideration in the design and evaluation of interventions to improve antimicrobial prescribing. In this paper, we discuss four potential areas where the behavioural and social sciences can help drive more effective and sustained behaviour change in antimicrobial stewardship: (i) defining the problem in behavioural terms and understanding current behaviour in context; (ii) adopting a theory-driven, systematic approach to intervention design; (iii) investigating implementation and sustainability of interventions in practice; and (iv) maximizing learning through evidence synthesis and detailed intervention reporting.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2613-2624
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy
Issue number10
Early online date17 Jul 2018
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2018


  • antibiotics
  • seizures
  • behavioral sciences
  • drug resistance
  • microbial
  • social sciences
  • infection
  • behavior
  • antimicrobials
  • behavioral change
  • evidence-based practice
  • prescribing behavior
  • antimicrobial stewardship


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