Aim. In this position paper, the self-efficacy model of medication adherence in chronic mental illness is presented, and its application to antipsychotic medication adherence is considered.
Background. Poor adherence to antipsychotic medications is common in chronic mental illness. Major implications of this are relapse and re-hospitalisation. Several conceptual frameworks have been developed about adherence and, in some instances, have been incorporated in medication taking studies, but have resulted in inconsistent outcomes.
Method. This paper draws on a review of literature from databases to inform the development of the self-efficacy model of medication adherence. Inclusion and exclusion criteria were developed from primary and secondary research questions.
Results. The model places the person with chronic mental illness as an active participant central to the process of medication taking. It has three components: core factors, contextual influences and a continuum. The factors comprise a central factor, self-efficacy and four interrelated supporting influences: perceived medication efficacy; access to, and relationships with, health professionals; significant other support and supported living circumstances. The factors are affected by three broad contextual influences – personal issues, medication side-effects and complexity, and social stigma – which affect the way individuals take their medications. A continuum exists between adherence and non-adherence.
Conclusion. The model positions service users at the heart of adherence by giving prominence to self-efficacy, medication efficacy and to immediate social, psychological and environmental supports. Further work is needed to validate, refine and extend the model.
Relevance to clinical practice. For practitioners involved in prescribing and medication management in people with chronic mental illness, the model provides a theoretical framework to strengthen adherence. It highlights the need to consider broader influences on medication taking. Moreover, it places the person with chronic mental illness as an active participant at the centre of strategies to enhance adherence.