Medication Nonadherence: Finding Solutions to a Costly Medical Problem

Harold Gottlieb, PhD

In This Article

Gender, Personality, and Cultural Factors

Gender, personality, and cultural factors may influence adherence-compliance rates. For instance, women may be better at adhering to their medication regimens than men. This may be particularly so for drugs that treat behavioral health conditions, such as antidepressant medication.[13]

An authoritarian and dictatorial manner can alienate some patients, particularly those who prefer participatory involvement. Patients are more likely to follow the advice of doctors who are seen as warm, caring, and friendly. Thus, physicians are encouraged to maintain good eye contact, smile, lean forward, and even joke and laugh when appropriate to promote medication compliance.

Some patients may deny that they are seriously ill. Thus, a prescribed medication regimen can only serve as an unwelcome reminder, and the patient is unlikely to adhere to it.

Patient satisfaction factors can affect adherence. For example, patients may be less adherent if they have to wait a long time to secure their medications because of an overbooked waiting room.[14]

A number of studies have found that cultural mores, folkways, and norms are important factors in determining who is and who is not likely to comply with medication regimens. One study found that Hispanic patients were more likely to comply with medication recommendations when their physicians demonstrated some understanding of Hispanic cultural norms and practices.[15]


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