Beginning with behavioral beliefs, if an individual believes that adhering to a prescribed medication is a negative act, the patient’s attitude towards the act is therefore negative. Medication adherence would not likely occur based up on the negative belief and relative attitude toward this behavior. For example, if a patient does not believe that their health depends on medicines, worry about having to take medicine or are concerned about the side effects of medicine, they are less likely to adhere to treatment than patients with more positive treatment attitudes (Alhalaiqa, Deane, Nawafleh, Clark, & Gray, 2012). From the analysis of behavioral beliefs, it be concluded that behavioral beliefs can independently predict medication adherence.
In regard to normative beliefs, if the peers or culture norms of an individual approve or disapprove medication adherence the individual may also approve or disapprove the medication adherence behavior. Normative beliefs can predict and explain medication adherence. However, normative beliefs are not an independent factor like that of behavior beliefs in the prediction of and explaining this behavior.
In regard to control beliefs, if an individual’s perception of medication adherence is complex or easy, this perceived behavioral control will influence or decrease the likelihood of that behavior becoming performed. As an example of control beliefs, if an individual believes that it is hard to adhere to medication due to factors such work scheduling; they may feel that they do not have control over the behavior because they do not have control over their work schedule. Therefore, the behavior will less likely occur due to a lack of perceived behavioral control.
Strengths and Weaknesses
Despite the popularity of the theory of planned behavior, this theory is not without its strengths and weaknesses, especially in relation to poor medication adherence. A major strength of this theory in relation to poor medication adherence is the theories undoubtedly ability to predict and understand poor medication adherence. Furthermore, this theory has been successfully used to predict and understand other long-term behaviors such as diet, exercise, and even medication adherence in patients with HIV (Rich, Brandes, Mullan, & Hagger, 2017).
A major weakness of this theory in relation to poor medication adherence is that the theory fails to take into account the emotional state of the individual at the time of the desired behavior. For example, many people living with chronic medical conditions also have major depression (UT Southwestern Medical Center, 2017). Depressive symptoms can negatively affect adherence behaviors (Goldstein, Gathright, & Garcia, 2017), thus leading to poor medication adherence.
The theory of planned behavior can have a profound impact on poor medication adherence. This theory can be used for understanding and predicting the likelihood of poor medication adherence amongst individuals diagnosed with chronic conditions. Once this behavior is understood and predicted, interventions can be developed and implemented that promote compliance, thus improving health outcomes. For example, if a nurse or primary health care provider can predict and understand the intentions and beliefs of patients diagnosed with chronic conditions in regard to medication and medication adherence, these healthcare providers can intervene in an attempt to change these intentions and beliefs in order improve or prevent poor medication adherence. Dear (2017) writes, “Improving poor medication adherence may be one of the most effective and efficient ways to improve health outcomes” ( para 3).
A leading challenge in healthcare t is the growing prevalence and deaths due to chronic diseases (Dalvi & Mekoth, 2017). This worrisome phenomenon can be attributed to several factors, the gravest being poor medication adherence (Dalvi & Mekoth, 2017). Intention, perception of behavioral control, attitude toward the behavior, and subjective norm each reveals a different aspect of poor medication adherence, and each can serve as a point of attack in attempts to improve it (Ajzen, 2017). Poor medication adherence has multifactorial causes that need to be understood before interventions can be designed to improve medication adherence (Lam & Fresco, 2015). Nurses and providers alike should recognize the problem of non-adherence and be aware of factors that have been shown to affect adherence in order to prevent, or even eliminate the problem (Dear, 2017). Adherence to treatment will increase positive health outcomes, improve the patient’s quality of live, and reduce the burden on the healthcare systems (Dalvi & Mekoth, 2017). Improving adherence amongst patients diagnosed with chronic conditions can be difficult, but not impossible (Hyman & Pavlik, 2015), if guided by the theory of planned behavior.