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Table 3 Influence of uncertainty avoidance within the medical consultation in primary care

From: Identification of cultural determinants of antibiotic use cited in primary care in Europe: a mixed research synthesis study of integrated design “Culture is all around us”

High Low References
Patients have high risk perception of the threat of the disease and possible complication. Patients have low risk-perception of the threat of the disease and of possible complications. [19, 21, 27]
Patients feel confident only if they have a disease with a clear cause, label and treatment (defensive medicine). Patients feel confident even in case of uncertainty, accepting that the GP has no specific diagnosis or that no treatment can be given. [12]
Patients prefer a “rather safe than sorry” attitude. Patients accept a “wait and see” attitude. [12, 19, 27]
The illness is perceived as an evil phenomenon against which you should fight. The illness is perceived as a natural phenomenon with a natural history to be respected. [24]
GPs feel uncomfortable and are anxious of making mistakes. GPs are aware of the dangers of a defensive attitude. [12]
GPs see themselves as experts and feel the inner urge to “do something”; prescribe what’s considered to be the less risky for the patient on a short term basis. GPs accept a degree of uncertainty and a “wait and see” approach. [12]
Prescribing antibiotics decreases the fear linked to uncertainty of both the GP and the patient. Prescribing antibiotics does not decrease uncertainty-related fear of the GP nor of the patient. [12, 13, 19, 27]