Examining the Effect of Context, Beliefs, and Values on UK Farm Veterinarians’ Antimicrobial Prescribing: A Randomized Experimental Vignette and Cross-Sectional Survey

Antibiotics (Basel). 2021 Apr 15;10(4):445. doi: 10.3390/antibiotics10040445.


Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is a pressing threat to public and animal health. There is evidence that antimicrobial prescribing and stewardship behaviors by veterinarians (vets) are influenced by non-clinical factors, such as psychological, social, and environmental factors. This study explored the role of context, beliefs, and values on vets' antimicrobial prescribing decisions. UK-based practicing farm vets (n = 97) were recruited to an online study. Using an experimental vignette methodology, vets were randomly assigned across four conditions, to examine the effects of different contexts (pressure on farm economics, the farmer, or the vet-farmer relationship, compared to a control condition) on vets' likelihood of prescribing antibiotics. Vets' beliefs about different groups' responsibility for causing and preventing AMR and vets' values were also measured. Key findings were that context alone, values, and beliefs about groups' responsibilities for causing AMR were not predictive of vets' likelihood of prescribing antibiotics. However, vets' beliefs about groups' responsibilities for preventing AMR were predictive of an increased likelihood of prescribing antibiotics, when vets were exposed to the experimental condition of the vignette in which the vet-farmer relationship was under pressure. Farm vets also believed that different groups have different levels of responsibility for causing and preventing AMR. Results should be interpreted cautiously, given the smaller than planned for sample size, and the possibility for both false negatives and false positives. Further research is needed to explore how these findings could inform antimicrobial stewardship interventions in veterinary medicine.

PMID:33921073 | DOI:10.3390/antibiotics10040445