BACKGROUND: Differences in antibiotic knowledge and attitudes between parents of Medicaid-insured and commercially insured children have been previously reported. It is unknown whether understanding has improved and whether previously identified differences persist.
METHODS: A total of 1500 Massachusetts parents with a child <6 years old insured by a Medicaid managed care or commercial health plan were surveyed in spring 2013. We examined antibiotic-related knowledge and attitudes by using χ2 tests. Multivariable modeling was used to assess current sociodemographic predictors of knowledge and evaluate changes in predictors from a similar survey in 2000.
RESULTS: Medicaid-insured parents in 2013 (n = 345) were younger, were less likely to be white, and had less education than those commercially insured (n = 353), P < .01. Fewer Medicaid-insured parents answered questions correctly except for one related to bronchitis, for which there was no difference (15% Medicaid vs 16% commercial, P < .66). More parents understood that green nasal discharge did not require antibiotics in 2013 compared with 2000, but this increase was smaller among Medicaid-insured (32% vs 22% P = .02) than commercially insured (49% vs 23%, P < .01) parents. Medicaid-insured parents were more likely to request unnecessary antibiotics in 2013 (P < .01). Multivariable models for predictors of knowledge or attitudes demonstrated complex relationships between insurance status and sociodemographic variables.
CONCLUSIONS: Misconceptions about antibiotic use persist and continue to be more prevalent among parents of Medicaid-insured children. Improvement in understanding has been more pronounced in more advantaged populations. Tailored efforts for socioeconomically disadvantaged populations remain warranted to decrease parental drivers of unnecessary antibiotic prescribing.
- Accepted May 20, 2015.
- Copyright © 2015 by the American Academy of Pediatrics