Patient Beliefs Have a Greater Impact Than Barriers on Medication Adherence in a Community Health Center

Monica D. Gagnon, MPH; Eve Waltermaurer, PhD; Adam Martin, MPH; Colette Friedenson, MPH; Eric Gayle, MD; Diane L. Hauser, MPA


J Am Board Fam Med. 2017;30(3):331-336. 

In This Article


Each examined barrier and belief was found to have an independent effect on adherence. If a patient reported any external barriers to getting medicines or held a single belief that medicines are not important, he or she was less likely to adhere to prescribed medication regimens. When examined in the same model, however, negative beliefs about medicines were a more significant deterrent to adherence than external barriers to accessing medicines. Patients' beliefs that they may become dependent on medicines, that their medicines disrupt their lives or otherwise worry them, that their medicines are ineffective, and that their doctor does not understand them all contribute more to nonadherence than external barriers to getting medication prescriptions filled. These findings suggest that in order to reduce chronic disease mortality by improving adherence rates, prescribing physicians should identify and address the range of negative beliefs that patients hold regarding adherence to medicine regimens.