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Paediatr Child Health. 2008 Jan;13(1):19-24.

Adherence to treatment in adolescents.

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Adolescent Medicine Division, Sainte-Justine UHC, University of Montreal, Montreal.


Health care professionals must be alert to the high prevalence of low adherence to treatment during adolescence. Low adherence increases morbidity and medical complications, contributes to poorer quality of life and an overuse of the health care system. Many different factors have an impact on adherence. However, critical factors to consider in teens are their developmental stage and challenges, emotional issues and family dysfunction. Direct and indirect methods have been described to assess adherence. Eliciting an adherence history is the most useful way for clinicians to evaluate adherence, and could be the beginning of a constructive dialogue with the adolescent. Interventions to improve adherence are multiple - managing mental health issues appropriately, building a strong relationship, customizing the treatment regimen if possible, empowering the adolescent to deal with adherence issues, providing information, ensuring family and peer support, and motivational enhancement therapy. Evaluation of adherence at regular intervals should be an important aspect of health care for adolescents.


Adherence; Adolescent; Compliance; Treatment

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