Predictors of Self-Reported Adherence to Antiretroviral Medication in a Multisite Study of Ethnic and Racial Minority HIV-Positive Youth

J Pediatr Psychol. 2016 May;41(4):419-28. doi: 10.1093/jpepsy/jsv097. Epub 2015 Oct 24.


Objective: To test social cognitive predictors of medication adherence in racial/ethnic minority youth living with HIV using a conceptual model.

Methods: Youth were participants in two descriptive studies by the Adolescent Trials Network for HIV/AIDS Interventions. Minority youth ages 16-24 years who were prescribed antiretroviral medication were included (N = 956). Data were collected through chart extraction and/or laboratory testing and by Audio Computer-Assisted Self-Interview.

Results: 39% of youth reported suboptimal adherence. Path analysis was used to explore predictors of medication adherence. Higher self-efficacy predicted higher readiness and adherence. Greater social support predicted higher self-efficacy. Psychological symptoms and substance use were associated with several predictors and lower adherence.

Conclusions: The model provided a plausible framework for understanding adherence in this population. Culturally competent, but individually tailored, interventions focused on increasing self-efficacy to take medication and reducing risk behaviors (e.g., substance use) may be helpful for racial or ethnic minority youth with HIV.

Keywords: HIV/Aids; adolescents; chronic illness; disparities; health behavior; psychosocial functioning; race/ethnicity.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Antiretroviral Therapy, Highly Active*
  • Chronic Disease
  • Ethnicity / psychology*
  • Ethnicity / statistics & numerical data
  • Female
  • HIV Infections / complications
  • HIV Infections / drug therapy*
  • HIV Infections / psychology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Medication Adherence / psychology*
  • Medication Adherence / statistics & numerical data
  • Minority Groups / psychology*
  • Minority Groups / statistics & numerical data
  • Racial Groups / psychology*
  • Racial Groups / statistics & numerical data
  • Self Efficacy
  • Self Report
  • Social Support
  • Substance-Related Disorders / complications
  • Substance-Related Disorders / psychology
  • United States
  • Young Adult