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Patient Educ Couns. 2002 Oct -Nov;48(2):161-9.

Cross-cultural differences in lay attitudes and utilisation of antibiotics in a Belgian and a Dutch city.

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Department of Comparative Study of Culture, Ghent University, Ghent, Belgium.


Cultural differences are probably an important factor in the considerable variation in antibiotic use between countries. The objective of this study was to explore local cultural differences in the lay perspective on coping with URTD and using antibiotics. We interviewed 30 persons in a Dutch and a Belgian city. Twenty-one were interviewed a second time after 3 months. Between the first and second interview, they noted in a diary all URTD episodes experienced by themselves and their family members (N=69) and how they coped with them. The Dutch participants labelled most URTD episodes as "common cold" or "flu". The Flemish participants labelled most of their URTD episodes as "bronchitis" and used more antibiotics. Four categories of antibiotic users could be distinguished. Participants with a Protestant background were more sceptical about medicines than those with a Catholic background. A thorough understanding of the cultural context is necessary to design effective campaigns to promote rational antibiotic use.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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