What are the 'active ingredients' of interventions targeting the public's engagement with antimicrobial resistance (AMR) and how might they work?

Joanna L. McParland*, Lynn Williams, Lucyna Gozdzielewska, Mairi Young, Fraser Smith, Jennifer MacDonald, Darren Langdridge, Mark Davis, Lesley Price, Paul Flowers

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Citations (Scopus)
146 Downloads (Pure)


Changing public awareness of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) represents a global public health priority. A systematic review of interventions that targeted public AMR awareness and associated behaviour was previously conducted. Here, we focus on identifying the active content of these interventions and explore potential mechanisms of action.

The project took a novel approach to intervention mapping utilizing the following steps: (1) an exploration of explicit and tacit theory and theoretical constructs within the interventions using the Theoretical Domains Framework (TDFv2), (2) retrospective coding of behaviour change techniques (BCTs) using the BCT Taxonomy v1, and (3) an investigation of coherent links between the TDF domains and BCTs across the interventions.

Of 20 studies included, only four reported an explicit theoretical basis to their intervention. However, TDF analysis revealed that nine of the 14 TDF domains were utilized, most commonly ‘Knowledge’ and ‘Environmental context and resources’. The BCT analysis showed that all interventions contained at least one BCT, and 14 of 93 (15%) BCTs were coded, most commonly ‘Information about health consequences’, ‘Credible source’, and ‘Instruction on how to perform the behaviour’.

We identified nine relevant TDF domains and 14 BCTs used in these interventions. Only 15% of BCTs have been applied in AMR interventions thus providing a clear opportunity for the development of novel interventions in this context. This methodological approach provides a useful way of retrospectively mapping theoretical constructs and BCTs when reviewing studies that provide limited information on theory and intervention content.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)804-819
Number of pages16
JournalBritish Journal of Health Psychology
Issue number4
Early online date27 May 2018
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2018


  • antimicrobial resistance
  • AMR
  • public health interventions


Dive into the research topics of 'What are the 'active ingredients' of interventions targeting the public's engagement with antimicrobial resistance (AMR) and how might they work?'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this