Identifying determinants of medication adherence following myocardial infarction using the Theoretical Domains Framework and the Health Action Process Approach

Psychol Health. 2017 Oct;32(10):1176-1194. doi: 10.1080/08870446.2016.1260724. Epub 2016 Dec 20.


Background: Despite evidence-based recommendations, adherence with secondary prevention medications post-myocardial infarction (MI) remains low. Taking medication requires behaviour change, and using behavioural theories to identify what factors determine adherence could help to develop novel adherence interventions.

Objective: Compare the utility of different behaviour theory-based approaches for identifying modifiable determinants of medication adherence post-MI that could be targeted by interventions.

Methods: Two studies were conducted with patients 0-2, 3-12, 13-24 or 25-36 weeks post-MI. Study 1: 24 patients were interviewed about barriers and facilitators to medication adherence. Interviews were conducted and coded using the Theoretical Domains Framework. Study 2: 201 patients answered a telephone questionnaire assessing Health Action Process Approach constructs to predict intention and medication adherence (MMAS-8).

Results: Study 1: domains identified: Beliefs about Consequences, Memory/Attention/Decision Processes, Behavioural Regulation, Social Influences and Social Identity. Study 2: 64, 59, 42 and 58% reported high adherence at 0-2, 3-12, 13-24 and 25-36 weeks. Social Support and Action Planning predicted adherence at all time points, though the relationship between Action Planning and adherence decreased over time.

Conclusions: Using two behaviour theory-based approaches provided complimentary findings and identified modifiable factors that could be targeted to help translate Intention into action to improve medication adherence post-MI.

Keywords: Health Action Process Approach; Theoretical Domains Framework; medication adherence; myocardial infarction.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Female
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice
  • Humans
  • Intention
  • Male
  • Medication Adherence / psychology*
  • Medication Adherence / statistics & numerical data*
  • Middle Aged
  • Myocardial Infarction / prevention & control*
  • Myocardial Infarction / psychology
  • Psychological Theory
  • Social Support