European Journal of Pediatrics

, Volume 165, Issue 1, pp 42–49 | Cite as

Perception and knowledge of medicines of primary schoolchildren: the influence of age and socioeconomic status

  • Katerina Bozoni
  • Maria Kalmanti
  • Sofia KoukouliEmail author
Original Paper


This study describes perception and knowledge of medicines and the degree of familiarity with them in a group of primary schoolchildren. Participants were 360 primary school children from three age groups (6–7, 8–9, 10–11 years) recruited from one private and two public schools in the area of Athens. The children were interviewed individually at school. Results indicate that most of the children believe strongly in the therapeutic power of medicines independent of age or socioeconomic status (SES). Only 31.9% could describe correctly the role of vaccines. Also the children of higher SES were more knowledgeable compared to those of lower SES. Children draw their information on medicines from the parents or the physician; however the children of lower SES used other sources, such as reading, more frequently. Of the sample, 50% stated having easy access to home medicines and the percentages were high even for the youngest. Conclusion:Children’s strong belief in the curative power of medicines, their limited knowledge on prevention and the easy accessibility to household medicines raises serious concerns. Additionally socio-economic differences in knowledge of medicines underscore the need for planning community and school-based health education programmes, with special attention to medicine education.


Children Knowledge Medicine Perceptions Socioeconomic status 



socioeconomic status



We thank Achilleas Gravanis, Professor of Pharmacology, Medical School, University of Crete, for his constructive comments and suggestions.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Katerina Bozoni
    • 1
  • Maria Kalmanti
    • 1
  • Sofia Koukouli
    • 2
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of Paediatrics, School of MedicineUniversity of CreteHeraklion Crete, Greece
  2. 2.Department of Social WorkSchool of Health and Social Welfare, Technological Educational Institute of HeraklionEstavromenos, Heraklion Crete, Greece

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