Development and validation of motivational messages to improve prescription medication adherence for patients with chronic health problems

Gary L. Kreps, Melinda M. Villagran, Xiaoquan Zhao, Colleen A. McHorney, Christy Ledford, Melinda Weathers, Brian Keefe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

34 Scopus citations


Objective: Poor adherence with prescription medications is a serious problem in health care, especially true for patients with chronic diseases. Previous strategies to promote adherence have generally not resulted in long-term improvements. This research program is designed to improve on past intervention strategies by developing evidence-based and theoretically grounded communication interventions to promote increased adherence. Methods: Phase 1 of this research program used qualitative methods to examine the uncertainties and concerns that influence medication adherence, identify messages for addressing these concerns, and develop refined motivational messages for promoting medication adherence. Phase 2 of this research program experimentally assessed chronic disease patients' evaluations of the refined motivational messages. Results: Phase 1 qualitative research indicated that patient concerns about their need for the prescribed medication (commitment) was the primary adherence issue, followed by concerns about side effects and the safety of prescription medications, and concerns about the medication costs. These three key issues were translated into draft motivational messages which were evaluated, validated, and refined. Phase 2 experimental research showed that exposure to motivational messages increased consumers' intention to adhere with medication recommendations. Conclusion: Follow-up intervention research is warranted to test the use of these motivational messages to promote medication adherence. Practice implications: Pharmacies and pharmacists have the potential to perform a central role in providing consumers with the relevant information they need to make responsible decisions that lead to increased adherence with prescription medication recommendations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)375-381
Number of pages7
JournalPatient Education and Counseling
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • Chronic diseases
  • Communication interventions
  • Medication adherence
  • Motivational messages

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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