Journal of Behavioral Medicine

, Volume 33, Issue 6, pp 466–473 | Cite as

Improving medication adherence by using practitioner nonverbal techniques: a field experiment on the effect of touch

  • Nicolas Guéguen
  • Sebastien Meineri
  • Virginie Charles-Sire
Original paper


Though the positive effect of touch on compliance has been widely reported in the social psychology literature, a new evaluation has been made in a health setting. Six general practitioners were instructed to touch (or not) their patients on the forearm for 1–2 s. Patients who suffered from mild pharyngitis were solicited by the practitioners at the end of the consultation for a verbal promise to take the antibiotic medication as prescribed. One week later, patients were contacted at home to determine the number of pills that had been taken and to evaluate the practitioner. Touch increased medication adherence in both male and female patients, but was associated with a greater increase in male patients. It was also found that practitioners were perceived to be more concerned about their patients by those in the touch condition. Practitioner competence appeared to be slightly higher in the touch condition. The theoretical implications of this positive effect of tactile contact are discussed and the practical interest for practitioners is highlighted, showing how this nonverbal technique could help them to increase the medication adherence of their patients.


Tactile contact Medication Adherence 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Nicolas Guéguen
    • 1
  • Sebastien Meineri
    • 1
  • Virginie Charles-Sire
    • 1
  1. 1.IUT de Vannes- Département TC, Laboratoire CRPCC-LESTICUniversité de Bretagne-SudVannesFrance

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