Applying the theory of planned behaviour to pharmacists' beliefs and intentions about the treatment of vaginal candidiasis with non-prescription medicines

Anne Elizabeth Walker, Margaret Camilla Watson, Christine Margaret Bond

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50 Citations (Scopus)


Background. It is important to understand health professionals' attitudes and beliefs about practice and the barriers to achieving best practice. The theory of planned behaviour (TPB) has been widely used to understand behaviour. In this study, TPB was used to explore the psychological variables that influence community pharmacists and the supply of non-prescription medicines.

Objectives. The objectives of the study were to: (i) apply the TPB to community pharmacy behaviour; (ii) identify barriers to/facilitators of evidence-based practice; (iii) describe psychological variables and responses to written scenarios of patients presenting in community pharmacies for non-prescription antifungals for the treatment of vulvovaginal candidiasis; and (iv) to examine the relationships between beliefs and behavioural intention.

Methods. A questionnaire survey was constructed using the TPB and disseminated to pharmacies in Grampian, Scotland. The purpose of the study was to explore community pharmacists' attitudes, beliefs and intentions about the supply of non-prescription antifungals for the treatment of vulvovaginal candidiasis.

Results. Of the 121 questionnaires disseminated, 76 (63%) were returned. Behavioural intention to sell antifungals to women with vulvovaginal candidiasis symptoms was strong. Attitude towards recommending these medicines was positive. However, only half of the sample responded appropriately to all four patient scenarios (n = 42, 54%). Most pharmacists felt that they were able to recommend antifungals if they wished, but did not feel under social pressure to recommend them. Local doctors did not appear to be influential with respect to selling antifungals. If a customer was elderly, pregnant or if the pharmacist was uncertain of the diagnosis of candidiasis, an antifungal was less likely to be recommended.

Conclusion. TPB provides a valid and useful summary of the key psychological variables influencing practice. There is more to pharmacy practice than the knowledge and attitudes of the pharmacist.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)670-676
Number of pages6
JournalFamily Practice
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2004


  • barriers
  • community pharmacists
  • effective professional practice
  • non-prescription medicines
  • theory of planned behaviour
  • CARE

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