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Sustainability 2018, 10(1), 143;

Managing Sustainable Use of Antibiotics—The Role of Trust

Department of Political Science, University of Gothenburg, P.O. Box 711, SE 405 30 Gothenburg, Sweden
Department of Social and Behavioural Studies, University West, SE 461 32 Trollhättan, Sweden
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 6 December 2017 / Revised: 3 January 2018 / Accepted: 5 January 2018 / Published: 9 January 2018
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Human overuse of antibiotics is the main driver of antibiotic resistance. Thus, more knowledge about factors that promote sustainable antibiotic use is urgently needed. Based upon findings from the management of other sustainability and collective action dilemmas, we hypothesize that interpersonal trust is crucial for people’s propensity to cooperate for the common objective. The aim of this article is to further our understanding of people’s antibiotic consumption by investigating if individuals’ willingness to voluntarily abstain from antibiotic use is linked to interpersonal trust. To fulfill the aim, we implement two empirical investigations. In the first part, we use cross-section survey data to investigate the link between interpersonal trust and willingness to abstain from using antibiotics. The second part is based on a survey experiment in which we study the indirect effect of trust on willingness to abstain from using antibiotics by experimentally manipulating the proclaimed trustworthiness of other people to abstain from antibiotics. We find that interpersonal trust is linked to abstemiousness, also when controlling for potential confounders. The survey experiment demonstrates that trustworthiness stimulates individuals to abstain from using antibiotics. In conclusion, trust is an important asset for preserving effective antibiotics for future generations, as well as for reaching many of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals. View Full-Text
Keywords: trust; antibiotic resistance; antibiotics; cooperation; large-scale collective action; Sweden trust; antibiotic resistance; antibiotics; cooperation; large-scale collective action; Sweden

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Robertson, F.; Jagers, S.C.; Rönnerstrand, B. Managing Sustainable Use of Antibiotics—The Role of Trust. Sustainability 2018, 10, 143.

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