Factors affecting nonadherence to treatment among type 2 diabetic patients with limited health literacy: Perspectives of patients, their families, and healthcare providers

J Educ Health Promot. 2022 Nov 26:11:388. doi: 10.4103/jehp.jehp_804_22. eCollection 2022.


Background: Treatment adherence is one of the behaviors associated with type 2 diabetes that predicts whether it will be successfully treated or develop complications and become uncontrolled. This study aimed to determine factors affecting nonadherence to treatment among diabetic patients with limited health literacy from the perspectives of patients, their families, and healthcare providers.

Materials and methods: This qualitative study with a content analysis approach was conducted on 84 eligible type 2 diabetes patients with limited health literacy and poor adherence to treatment, as well as their families and healthcare providers using a purposive sampling method, in Kerman city in 2021. Interviews were conducted using a semistructured interview guide with a broad, open-ended question to provide a general history of the disease separately. The interviewer asked participants to identify the perceived barriers to treatment nonadherence. Each interview lasted 45-60 min. MAXQDA version 20 and inductive content analysis were used to code and analyze extracted data.

Results: Four major themes emerged from the patients' perspectives as "financial problems," "individual factors," "problems related to medication availability," and "healthcare providers' poor practices." Two major themes were classified from the perspective of patients' families as "financial problems" and "Individual factors," and four major themes were identified from the viewpoint of healthcare providers including "financial problems," "individual factors," "scarcity and medication availability," and "poor practice of the healthcare provider." These mentioned barriers were confirmed regarding treatment nonadherence among study participants.

Conclusion: Study findings revealed different factors of treatment nonadherence among diabetic patients with limited health literacy. Therefore, these factors should be considered in tailoring promotive educational and supportive interventions. Considering the importance of adherence to treatment patients, planning empowerment family-based interventions focusing on health literacy improvement seems necessary.

Keywords: Family; health literacy; health personnel; nonadherence to treatment; qualitative research; type 2 diabetes.