Drug attitude in adolescents: a key factor for a comprehensive assessment

J Clin Psychopharmacol. 2014 Feb;34(1):99-108. doi: 10.1097/JCP.0000000000000035.


Objective: Very few studies have evaluated the subjective experience (SE) in children and adolescents treated with antipsychotics. The present study aimed to evaluate the SE of antipsychotics in adolescents diagnosed with different psychiatric conditions and to identify explanatory variables of adolescents' SE and compliance with treatment.

Methods: The Drug Attitude Inventory (DAI) was used to evaluate SE in 67 adolescents in 2 different countries (Italy and United Kingdom). Compliance was measured using a Likert scale completed by both patients and parents. To evaluate other parameters correlated to the SE, the following scales were administered: Clinical Global Impression Scale, Children's Global Assessment Scale, Extrapyramidal Symptoms Rating Scale, Barnes Akathisia Rating Scale, and EuroQoL (for quality of life). Multiple and logistic regression analyses were applied.

Results: No significant difference in drug attitude was found between psychotic and nonpsychotic patients. Our results showed a highly significant association between DAI and compliance (Spearman index, 0.33; P = 0.005); for all other variables, DAI associated significantly only with quality of life (r = 0.25; P = 0.03). The multivariable analysis confirmed the presence of a strong association between compliance and DAI (P = <0.001). In our sample, drug attitude was the only variable found to be correlated with the compliance, whereas extrapyramidal adverse effects showed an only marginally significant association.

Conclusions: Our observations provide confirmation, also in adolescents, that drug attitude is strongly correlated with treatment compliance and underline the need in clinical assessments to always consider the patient's viewpoint.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Observational Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adolescent Behavior*
  • Age Factors
  • Akathisia, Drug-Induced / etiology
  • Akathisia, Drug-Induced / psychology
  • Antipsychotic Agents / adverse effects
  • Antipsychotic Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Basal Ganglia Diseases / chemically induced
  • Basal Ganglia Diseases / psychology
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice*
  • Humans
  • Italy
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Medication Adherence*
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Odds Ratio
  • Quality of Life
  • Risk Factors
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • United Kingdom


  • Antipsychotic Agents