A scoping review on the influential cognitive constructs informing public AMR behavior compliance and the attribution of personal responsibility

Published:February 14, 2020DOI:


      • Public antimicrobial resistance: responsibility and behavior are influenced by cognitive constructs.
      • Cognitive constructs are beliefs, knowledge, attitudes, and social norms.
      • Cognitive constructs are liable to information brokering and experience.
      • Focus on cognitive constructs is required to inform sustained behavior change.


      Antibiotic resistance is a growing threat to public health. Despite various attempts at educating the public on antimicrobial resistance (AMR) and judicial antibiotic use, fallacies and misconceptions remain. To successfully promote behavior change, various cognitive constructs pertaining to antibiotic behavior need to be identified and targeted.


      Using the Arksey and O'Malley (2005) methodological framework, a credible reflexive examination of literature was conducted, permitting identification of a breadth of literature that pertained to the influence of cognitive constructs on public antimicrobial behavior.


      From 393 abstracts identified, 67 full articles were screened, and 43 papers were chosen for review. Three themes were identified (1) sociodemographic influences; (2) knowledge, misconceptions, and fallacies; and (3) public attitudes and the social influence of friends and family. Geographical location, education level, cognitive dissonance, and social norms were found to influence AMR cognition, resulting in disproportionate risk assessments that are facilitated by social information brokering.


      Public AMR resilience, responsibility, and behavior compliance are influenced by cognitive constructs, which are liable to the appropriation of misconceptions, fallacies, and social behavior models obtained via information brokering. A cohesive multidisciplinary participatory approach to AMR management and interventional design that applies the influence of cognitive constructs to inform public AMR behavior compliance is recommended.

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