Determinants of medication adherence among chronic patients from an urban area: a cross-sectional study

Eur J Public Health. 2019 Jun 1;29(3):419-424. doi: 10.1093/eurpub/cky259.


Background: Medication adherence is a complex area of behaviour. Little is known about what influences chronic patients to take their medicines. This study has aimed to compare and contrast the health-related beliefs, experiences and types of behaviour typical among patients who have at least one chronic condition and are following a pharmacological treatment in accordance with their level of medication adherence.

Methods: A questionnaire-based cross-sectional study, consisting of socio-demographic data, the 4-item Morisky-Green scale and 37 statements about health beliefs, perceptions and experiences, was conducted at different levels of healthcare (primary and tertiary settings).

Results: A total of 577 questionnaires were analyzed. Respondents had a mean age of 64 and took an average of 4.6 drugs. Optimal adherence was reported by 58.6% of respondents. Bivariate analysis showed adherent subjects were older, took more medications, were in better spirits and had greater confidence and information regarding their treatment. Multivariate analysis found older age and the statements 'My doctor periodically reviews my treatment' and 'I am motivated to continue with the treatment' to be significantly related to medication adherence, while 'I make variations when taking medication depending on how I feel' was significant for medication non-adherence.

Conclusion: Medication non-adherence is common among chronic patients. Patient-centred approaches should be implemented in daily clinical practice as patient health beliefs, experiences and conduct influence medication-taking. Motivational interviewing might improve medication adherence in permitting emotional state managing and increasing educational skills, patient motivation and confidence between patients and healthcare providers.

MeSH terms

  • Chronic Disease
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Medication Adherence / statistics & numerical data*
  • Middle Aged
  • Polypharmacy
  • Spain
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Urban Population