Encyclopedia of Behavioral Medicine

Living Edition
| Editors: Marc Gellman


  • M. Bryant HowrenEmail author
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4614-6439-6_1203-2



Adherence is a term used to describe the extent to which an individual’s behavior coincides with health-related instructions or recommendations given by a health-care provider in the context of a specific disease or disorder. The term has been used extensively in psychology and medicine in reference to acute, chronic, and preventive treatment regimens (e.g., a course of prescribed medication, wound self-care), preventive health screenings, dietary restriction, exercise recommendations, smoking cessation, and other health behaviors. Although adherence is synonymous with compliance in many contexts, the former is often preferred by behavioral scientists and allied health professionals given its emphasis of patient-provider collaboration as opposed to a more authoritarian, provider-centered exchange.


Extent and Implications of Nonadherence

Despite significant advances in biomedical science related to the treatment of disease, the problem...


Patient Adherence Pill Count Personal Health Record Adherence Behavior Directly Observe Therapy 
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References and Further Readings

  1. Bayer, R., & Wilkinson, D. (1995) Directly observed therapy for tuberculosis: History of an idea. Lancet, 345, 1545–8.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  2. Christensen, A. J. (2004). Patient adherence to medical treatment regimens: Bridging the gap between behavioral science and biomedicine. New Haven: Yale University Press.Google Scholar
  3. Christensen, A. J., Howren, M. B., Hillis, S. L., Kaboli, P., Carter, B. L., et al. (2010). Patient and physician beliefs about control over health: Association of symmetrical beliefs with medication regimen adherence. Journal of General Internal Medicine, 25, 397–402.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  4. DiMatteo, M. R. (2004). Variations in patients’ adherence to medical recommendations: A quantitative review of 50 years of research. Medical Care, 42, 200–209.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  5. DiMatteo, M. R., Giordani, P. J., Lepper, H. S., & Croghan, T. W. (2002). Patient adherence and medical treatment outcomes: A meta-analysis. Medical Care, 40, 794–811.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  6. Dunbar-Jacob, J., & Schlenk, E. (2001). Patient adherence to treatment regimen. In A. Baum, T. A. Revenson, & J. E. Singer (Eds.), Handbook of health psychology (pp. 571–580). Mahwah: Lawrence Erlbaum.Google Scholar
  7. Eisenthal, S., Emery, R., Lazare, A., & Udin, H. (1979). “Adherence” and the negotiated approach to patienthood. Archives of General Psychiatry, 36, 393–398.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  8. Haynes, R. B., Ackloo, E., Sahota, N., McDonald, H. P., & Yao, X. (2008). Interventions for enhancing medication adherence. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, (2), Article CD000011. doi:10.1002/14651858.CD000011.pub3.Google Scholar
  9. Howren, M.B., Cozad, A.J., & Christensen, A.J. The interactive effects of patient control beliefs on adherence to fluid-intake restrictions in hemodialysis: Results from a randomized controlled trial. J Health Psychology. Online ahead of print DOI: 10.1177/1359105316631813.Google Scholar
  10. Howren, M. B., Van Lieuw, J. R., & Christensen, A. J. (2013). Advances in patient adherence to medical treatment regimens: The emerging role of technology in adherence monitoring and management. Social & Personality Psychology Compass – Health Series, 7, 427–443.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Kardas, P., Lewek, P., & Matyjaszczyk, M. (2013). Determinants of patient adherence: A review of systematic reviews. Frontiers in Pharmacology, 4, 91.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  12. Mathes, T., Jaschinski, T., & Pieper, D. (2014). Adherence influencing factors: A systematic review of systematic reviews. Archives of Public Health, 72, 37.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  13. Steiner, J. F., & Prochazka, A. V. (1997). The assessment of refill compliance using pharmacy records: Methods, validity, and applications. Journal of Clinical Epidemiology, 50, 105–116.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  14. Stone, A. A., Turkkan, J., Jobe, J., Kurtzman, H., & Cain, V. (2000). The science of self-report. Mahwah: Lawrence Erlbaum.Google Scholar
  15. Van Dulmen, S., Sluijs, E., Van Dijk, L., De Ridder, D., Heerdink, R., & Bensing, J. (2007). Patient adherence to treatment: A review of reviews. BMC Health Services Research, 7, 55.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar

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© Springer Science+Business Media LLC 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologyThe University of Iowa &VA Iowa City Healthcare SystemIowa CityUSA