Situational Prescription Drug Abuse-Related Communication Confidence among Community Pharmacists: An Exploratory Analysis

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Prescription drug abuse and misuse (PDA/M) prevalence has increased dramatically in the United States over the last two decades.

Community pharmacists are intimately involved in the dispensing of a majority of eventually abused/misused prescription drugs and are thus well positioned to engage in PDA/M prevention and treatment. A known barrier to engagement in prevention efforts among providers is discomfort with PDA/M communication. The objective of this study was to explore relative situational self-perceived PDA/M communication confidence among Tennessee community pharmacists.

Using the validated Self-Perceived Communication Competence instrument as a framework, an 18-item survey instrument (0-100 scale; 0=completely unconfident, 100=completely confident) was developed and administered to 2000 Tennessee pharmacists. Items elicited communication confidence across multiple contexts and receivers, including PDA/M situations and common community pharmacy situations. Parametric statistical tests were used to examine differences in communication confidence across demographic variables.

A 40% response rate was obtained. Mean self-perceived communication confidence ratings ranged from 54.2 to 92.6. Statistically significant differences were noted across receiver type and context. Addiction communication confidence was significantly lower than all other scenarios involving patient communication, including items that could be considered accusatory to patients (non-adherence, smoking cessation). Differences in communicative self-confidence were noted across gender, practice setting, years in practice, hours worked per week, and number of prescriptions filled per week.

Pharmacists’ self-perceived communication confidence is situational and varies across pharmacist and practice setting characteristics. Efforts to engage community pharmacists in PDA/M prevention and treatment should foster development of communicative self-confidence across multiple PDA/M situations.


Chicago, IL

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