Existing terminology related to antimicrobial resistance fails to evoke risk perceptions and be remembered

  27 October 2023

Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is a global healthcare threat promoted by all use of antibiotics. Hence, reducing overuse of antibiotics is essential. The necessary behaviour change relies on effective public health communication, but previous information campaigns-while showing some successes-have fallen short in generating a lasting increase of public awareness. A potential reason for this is AMR-related terminology, which has been criticised as inconsistent, abstract and difficult to pronounce. We report the first empirical test of word memorability and risk association for the most frequent AMR-related health terms.

Our findings highlight an urgent need to rename AMR with a memorable term that effectively signals the existential threat of AMR and thereby motivates a change in antibiotic use. The success of the revised term is likely to depend, at least partially, on its linguistic attributes.

Further reading: Commun Med
Author(s): Eva Krockow et al
Effective Surveillance  


Unrestricted financial support by:


Antimicrobial Resistance Fighter Coalition

Bangalore Bioinnovation Centre


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