Research Reports

Journal of Community Health

, Volume 3, Issue 2, pp 115-124

Patient adherence to antihypertensive medical regimens

  • J. P. Kirscht
  • , I. M. Rosenstock

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The initial findings from a long-term study of patient adherence to antihypertensive medical regimens are reported; the research was designed to identify factors related to adherence. Data were collected by means of personal interviews and from medication records for a sample of 132 hypertensive patients of private physicians. Patient beliefs about their susceptibility to the effects of hypertension, about the severity of the condition, and about the efficacy of the regimen prescribed were all associated with compliance, when the self-reports and pharmacy records were analyzed. A lesser degree of adherence was found to be related to the patient's feelings of dependence on the physician and to a lesser sense of personal control; those patients who found it difficult, for personal reasons, to comply with the regimen also exhibited a lesser degree of adherence. Although a patient's understanding about the disease was not related to adherence, his awareness of the purpose of the regimen was. Less educated and older patients showed less compliance. The compliance of patients in following dietary advice was less marked than was compliance in taking medication. Although preliminary, the results emphasize the importance of a patient's beliefs and his social situation in decisions to follow medical advice.