Psychological factors affecting disease activity in children and adolescents with cystic fibrosis: medical adherence as a mediator

Curr Opin Pediatr. 2007 Oct;19(5):553-8. doi: 10.1097/MOP.0b013e3282ef480a.


Purpose of review: It is likely that nonadherence to treatment is one mediator of the effect of psychological factors on disease activity and course of cystic fibrosis. Nonadherence is a significant problem for patients with the disease. This review assesses adherence to multiple treatment components in cystic fibrosis and identifies factors associated with poor adherence. Based on this assessment, strategies aimed at enhancing adherence will be discussed.

Recent findings: Adherence to treatment occurs less than 50% of the time in patients with cystic fibrosis, indicating poor adherence, which is particularly common in adolescents. Factors associated with poor adherence include psychiatric, psychological and emotional factors; family issues; and treatment-related problems. Recently, more information is being gathered regarding processes related to poor adherence.

Summary: Psychological factors affecting physical conditions frequently occur in children with cystic fibrosis. Therefore, patients need to be routinely screened for coexisting psychosocial issues and treatment adherence problems. Adherence needs to be examined according to the specific treatment component, and with an understanding of factors that make adherence difficult for patients and families. This will enable healthcare teams to target individualized strategies to counteract nonadherence, with emphasis on the role of psychological and psychosocial factors.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • Cystic Fibrosis / psychology*
  • Cystic Fibrosis / therapy
  • Humans
  • Patient Compliance*
  • Psychology, Adolescent
  • Psychology, Child