• The purpose of this paper is to describe the factors that affect compliance in adolescents with a chronic illness and to compare compliance and factors connected to compliance between adolescents with asthma, epilepsy, rheumatoid arthritis (JRA) and insulin dependent diabetes mellitus (IDDM).
• The data were collected by questionnaire. Altogether 1200 individuals were selected from the Finnish Social Insurance Institution’s register. The response percentage was 88 (n=1061).
• One-fifth (23%) of adolescents with chronic disease felt that they had complied fully with health regimens, while 60% placed themselves in the category of satisfactory compliance and the remaining 17% reported poor compliance.
• In each patient group compliance was promoted by good motivation, a strong sense of normality, a positive attitude towards the disease and treatment, energy and will-power, experience of results, support from the parents, nurses and physicians, and a feeling that the disease was not a threat to social well-being.