Computational and Mathematical Methods in Medicine / 2014 / Article / Tab 2

Research Article

Antibiotic Use as a Tragedy of the Commons: A Cross-Sectional Survey

Table 2

Comparisons by area of work ( )1.

Area of work2Total value3
Clinical careMicrobiologyPublic healthModeling
% % % % %

Antibiotic resistance is a major public health problem
The overuse of antibiotics is a major cause of resistance
An individual decision to use antibiotics has an impact on antibiotic resistance in a population
Physicians should only consider the needs of the patient when prescribing an antibiotic
Before prescribing an antibiotic, physicians should weigh the potential benefit to the patient against the potential harm to society
The use of antibiotics benefits society
Limiting the use of antibiotics would benefit society
When determining whether or not to prescribe antibiotics, which consideration is more important?
 Long-term societal wellbeing4011.717424.84024.2918.026320.9<0.001
 Immediate patient wellbeing30188.352975.312575.84182.099679.1
In an antibiotic-free society, would it be beneficial to provide everyone with a broad-spectrum antibiotic nonspecifically once per year?
In the United States in 2012, would it be beneficial to provide everyone with a broad-spectrum antibiotic nonspecifically once per year?
Do you think that antibiotic use results in a “tragedy of the commons”?5
 Yes (always or typically)15444.828340.57747.22140.453542.50.57
 Under certain circumstances17952.038755.47948.52853.967353.5
In general, which type of strain will spread more easily in a population?
In general, which type of strain will be more virulent in an individual?

Note that participants were allowed to opt out of responding to any question, so the total number of responses varies depending on the particular question.
2“Other” category excluded.
3<0.001 considered significant.
4“Yes” includes collapsed categories.
5Question prompt in the survey included the following definition of “tragedy of the commons”: Garrett Hardin’s classic dilemma, the “tragedy of the commons,” arises when multiple individuals, acting solely out of their own self-interest, ultimately exhaust a limited shared resource despite the fact that it is in no one’s long-term interest for this to happen. A well-known example of this situation involves a group of individuals grazing cattle on a tract of common land. Each individual will seek to maximize his/her gains, and each individual will benefit from grazing additional cattle on the land.
This continued increased use will eventually deplete or even destroy the utility of the common land, and these negative effects will be felt by everyone. Since the negative effects of grazing additional cattle are shared by the group, but the benefits of additional cattle reside with the individual, each rational individual will continue to graze additional cattle despite the ultimate detriment to the group.

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