Development and randomized controlled trial of an animated film aimed at reducing behaviours for acquiring antibiotics

Sarah Wilding, Virpi Kettu, Wendy Thompson, Philip Howard, Lars Jeuken, Madeleine Pownall, Mark Conner, Jonathan Sandoe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is a global health crisis but reducing antibiotic use can help. Some antibiotic use is driven by patient demand.

To develop an intervention to discourage antibiotic-seeking behaviour in adults.

Literature reviewed to identify behaviours for acquiring antibiotics among adults in the community. Behaviour change wheel approach was used to select the target behaviour and behaviour change techniques. An intervention in the form of a short animated film was developed and its potential impact evaluated in a randomized, controlled, online questionnaire study.

Asking a general medical/dental practitioner for antibiotics was identified as the target behaviour. A short stop-motion animated film was chosen to deliver several behaviour-change techniques. Education and persuasion were delivered around information about the normal microbial flora, its importance for health, the negative effect of antibiotics, and about AMR. 417 UK-based individuals completed the questionnaire; median age 34.5 years, 71% female, 91% white ethnicity. 3.8% of participants viewing the test film intended to ask for antibiotics compared with 7.9% viewing the control film. Test film viewers had significantly higher knowledge scores. At 6 week follow up, knowledge scores remained significantly different, while most attitude and intention scores were not different.

Some patients continue to ask for antibiotics. The film increased knowledge and reduced intentions to ask for antibiotics. At 6 weeks, knowledge gains remained but intentions not to ask for antibiotics had waned. Evaluation in the clinical environment, probably at the point of care, is needed to see if antibiotic prescribing can be impacted.
Original languageEnglish
Article numberdlab083
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 17 Jun 2021


  • Antibiotic
  • Seeking healthcare
  • animation


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