Do trial-and-error practices and the use of the internet influence how medicines are used?

Kay Price, Anne W. Taylor, Eleonora Dal Grande, Debbie Kralik

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


The aim of this research was to identify if people understood and used a practice termed 'trial and error' and the association of this practice to: (1) taking medicines as prescribed; and (2) use of the internet to assist their self-care decision-making. A national Computer Assisted Telephone Interview (CATI) was conducted in 2011 of a random sample of 3003 adults aged 18 years and over. Multivariable modelling, in stages, was undertaken adjusting for a range of demographics and associated health variables. There is a very strong relationship between the use of trial-and-error practices and not taking prescription medicines as prescribed. In addition, adults who state that they use trial-and-error practices to assist their health-related decision-making are more likely to have used the internet for information and then as a result, adjusted medicines or treatment. Any health care initiative directed at ensuring people take medicines as prescribed cannot dismiss the use of trial-and-error practices derived from information found on the internet.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)228-235
Number of pages8
JournalAustralian Journal of Primary Health
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Computer Assisted Telephone Interviewing
  • internet
  • self-care decision-making
  • taking medicines
  • trial-and-error practices.


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