Objective: To determine whether African Americans with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) have poorer treatment adherence than whites, and to determine ethnic group differences in barriers to adherence, and how barriers affect adherence.
Methods: We compared 68 African American and 54 white women with SLE on 19 potential barriers, on 2 adherence behaviors during the past year, and on how the potential barriers relate to each nonadherence behavior.
Results: African Americans and whites were similar on most barriers, although African Americans were more likely to rely on religion and were more concerned about long-term medication effects. The 2 ethnic groups were comparable on medication nonadherence, but whites tended to have poorer clinic appointment adherence than African Americans. Finally, we found that barriers related to negative affect (depression, medication concerns, physical symptoms) as well as short-term memory problems and the need for child or elder care were associated with nonadherence among African Americans, whereas perceived treatment inefficacy and lacking trust in physicians were associated with nonadherence among whites.
Conclusion: Relationships between adherence barriers and nonadherence may be ethnicity specific, suggesting that interventions to address barriers should be targeted to specific groups.