Identifying and prioritising behaviours to slow antimicrobial resistance

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As a nation with relatively low levels of AMR, due to both community and agricultural stewardship, as well as geographical isolation, Australia is somewhat unique. As this advantage is being eroded, this project aimed to investigate the spectrum of human behaviours that could be modified in order to slow the spread of AMR, building upon the argument that doable actions are the best-targeted and least complex to change. We conducted a workshop with a panel of diverse interdisciplinary AMR experts (from sociology, microbiology, agriculture, veterinary medicine, health and government) and identified twelve behaviours that, if undertaken by the public, would slow the spread of AMR. These were then assessed by a representative sample of the public (285 Australians) for current participation, likelihood of future participation (likelihood) and perceived benefits that could occur if undertaken (perceived impact). An impact-likelihood matrix was used to identify four priority behaviours: do not pressure your doctor for antibiotics; contact council to find out where you can safely dispose of cleaning products with antimicrobial marketing; lobby supermarkets to only sell antibiotic free meat products; and return unused antibiotics to a pharmacy. Among a multitude of behavioural options, this study also highlights the importance of tailoring doable actions to local conditions, increasing community education, and emphasizing the lack of a one-size fits all approach to tackling this global threat.

Original languageEnglish
Article number949
Number of pages10
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2023


  • AMR
  • antimicrobial resistance
  • behaviour change
  • impact-likelihood

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