Investigating understandings of antibiotics and antimicrobial resistance in diverse ethnic communities in Australia: Findings from a qualitative study

Andrea Whittaker, Davina Lohm, Chris Lemoh, Allen Cheng, Mark Davis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)


This paper explores the understandings of antibiotics and antimicrobial resistance (AMR) among ethnically diverse informants in Melbourne, Australia. Atotal of 31 face-to-face semi-structured qualitative interviews were conducted with a sample of ethnic in-patients who were admitted with an acquired antimicrobial infection in a public hospital (n = 7); five hospital interpreters; and ethnic members of the general community (n = 19) as part of a broader study of lay understandings of AMR. Thematic analysis revealed there was poor understanding of AMR, even among informants being treated for AMR infections. Causes of the increasing incidence of AMR were attributed to: Weather fluctuations and climate change; a lack of environmental cleanliness; and the arrival of new migrant groups. Asian informants emphasized the need for humoral balance. Antibiotics were viewed as ‘strong’ medicines that could potentially disrupt this balance and weaken the body. Travel back to countries of origin sometimes involved the use of medical services and informants noted that some community members imported antibiotics from overseas. Most used the internet and social media to source health information. There is a lack of information in their own languages. More attention needs to be given to migrant communities who are vulnerable to the development, transmission and infection with resistant bacteria to inform future interventions.

Original languageEnglish
Article number135
Number of pages17
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2019


  • Antibiotic
  • Antimicrobial resistance
  • Ethnicity
  • Lay understandings
  • Qualitative

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