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Qual Health Res. 2019 Jul 13:1049732319856580. doi: 10.1177/1049732319856580. [Epub ahead of print]

When Is Forgetting Not Forgetting? A Discursive Analysis of Differences in Forgetting Talk Between Adults With Cystic Fibrosis With Different Levels of Adherence to Nebulizer Treatments.

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1 The University of Sheffield, Sheffield, United Kingdom.
2 Sheffield Hallam University, Sheffield, United Kingdom.
3 Sheffield Teaching Hospitals, Sheffield, United Kingdom.


Forgetting is often cited as a reason why people struggle to adhere to treatments for chronic conditions. Interventions have tried to improve forgetting behavior using reminders. We used a discursive psychological approach to explore differences in how high and low adherers constructed forgetting their nebulizer treatments for cystic fibrosis. Interviews were conducted with 18 adults from a cystic fibrosis center in the United Kingdom. High adherers constructed forgetting treatments as occasional lapses in automaticity and temporary lapses in memory that they found easy to repair. Low adherers utilized forgetting to normalize more consistent nonadherence to treatments. However, it is important to contextualize forgetting as a discursive resource that helped these participants to negotiate moral discourses around adherence to treatment that reminder interventions cannot address; we therefore recommend a more behavioral, patient-focused, theory-driven approach to intervention development.


United Kingdom; adherence; chronic conditions; cystic fibrosis; discourse analysis; intervention; interviews; memory; qualitative


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