Non-adherence to medication and doctor-patient relationship: Evidence from a European survey

Patient Educ Couns. 2011 Apr;83(1):7-13. doi: 10.1016/j.pec.2010.04.039. Epub 2010 Jun 11.


Objective: Studies on the determinants of non-adherence to medication have put emphasis in understanding the role of the doctor-patient relationship in individuals' decision to follow recommendations. Yet, evidence on general perceptions that individuals hold about doctors and their impact on their decision to non-adhere is lacking. This paper aims to explore the issue using data from the European Social Survey (ESS).

Methods: The ESS was conducted in 2004/2005 and included 45,700 participants from 24 countries in Europe. A Heckman probit model with sample selection was used for the analysis.

Results: The results show that perceptions about doctors constitute the model that better explains non-adherence to prescribed medication.

Conclusion and practice implications: Our findings confirm that general beliefs individuals have about the doctor-patient relationship impact significantly on their decision to non-adhere to prescribed medication. Key points were shown to be involvement in the decision making process, treating patients as equals and avoiding leaving unresolved issues when prescribing.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Communication
  • Decision Making
  • Europe
  • Female
  • Health Care Surveys
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice*
  • Health Services Accessibility
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Medication Adherence / psychology
  • Medication Adherence / statistics & numerical data*
  • Middle Aged
  • Models, Statistical
  • Physician's Role
  • Physician-Patient Relations*
  • Physicians
  • Sex Factors
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Truth Disclosure
  • Young Adult