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AIDS Care. 2013 Aug;25(8):948-55. doi: 10.1080/09540121.2012.748867. Epub 2012 Dec 11.

The relationship between depression, anxiety and medication adherence among patients receiving antiretroviral treatment in South Africa.

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Department of Psychology, Stellenbosch University, Stellenbosch, South Africa.


In recent years, a small but growing body of literature on the associations between common mental disorders and adherence to antiretroviral therapy (ART) has emerged. The present study builds on the growing body of research by investigating associations between symptoms of depression, symptoms of anxiety and adherence to ART. We studied a convenience sample of 101 South African ART users to determine the severity of symptoms of depression and anxiety and their association with self-reported adherence to ART. Based on the standardised cut-off scores recorded using the Beck Depression Inventory - Second Edition (BDI II), 40.4% of participants demonstrated moderate to severe symptoms of depression. Moreover, results from the Beck Anxiety Inventory (BAI) indicated that 28.7% of the study participants demonstrated moderate to severe symptoms of anxiety. Biserial correlations and logistic regression analysis demonstrated a significant relationship between symptoms of depression and adherence. The results indicate that patients reporting non-perfect adherence were approximately three times more likely (OR=2.73; CI=1.09-6.82) to have moderate to severe symptoms of depression than those reporting perfect adherence. The present findings are in keeping with those of previous studies, suggesting that depression may act as a barrier to ART adherence.

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