Peer-education as a tool to educate on antibiotics, resistance and use in 16–18-year-olds: A feasibility study

Cliodna McNulty*, Rowshonara B. Syeda, Carla L. Brown, C. Verity Bennett, Behnaz Schofield, David G. Allison, Neville Verlander, Nick Francis

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


Peer education (PE) interventions may help improve knowledge and appropriate use of antibiotics in young adults. In this feasibility study, health-care students were trained to educate 16–18 years old biology students, who then educated their non-biology peers, using e-Bug antibiotic lessons. Knowledge was assessed by questionnaires, and antibiotic use by questionnaire, SMS messaging and GP record searches. Five of 17 schools approached participated (3 PE and 2 control (usual lessons)). 59% (10/17) of university students and 28% (15/54) of biology students volunteered as peer-educators. PE was well-received; 30% (38/127) intervention students and 55% (66/120) control students completed all questionnaires. Antibiotic use from GP medical records (54/136, 40% of students’ data available), student SMS (69/136, 51% replied) and questionnaire (109/136, 80% completed) data showed good agreement between GP and SMS (kappa = 0.72), but poor agreement between GP and questionnaires (kappa = 0.06). Median knowledge scores were higher post-intervention, with greater improvement for non-biology students. Delivering and evaluating e-Bug PE is feasible with supportive school staff. Single tiered PE by university students may be easier to regulate and manage due to time constraints on school students. SMS collection of antibiotic data is easier and has similar accuracy to GP data.

Original languageEnglish
Article number146
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2020

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.


  • Antibiotic resistance
  • Antibiotics
  • Biology
  • Health education
  • Peer education
  • Students


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