Adherence to Treatment Among Economically Disadvantaged Patients with Panic Disorder

Published in: Psychiatric Services, v. 57, no. 12, Dec. 2006, p. 1745-1750

Posted on RAND.org on December 31, 2005

by Snigdha Mukherjee, Greer Sullivan, Dana Perry, Bobby Verdugo, Adrienne Means-Christensen, Trevor J. Schraufnagel, Cathy D. Sherbourne, Murray Stein, Michelle G. Craske, Peter Roy-Byrne

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OBJECTIVE: The purpose of this study was to examine the feelings of disadvantaged patients about and experiences of treatment for anxiety disorders in primary care settings. METHODS: The patients had participated in the Collaborative Care for Anxiety and Panic study, which tested the effectiveness of an intervention to help primary care providers treat panic disorder. The treatment comprised cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) combined with pharmacotherapy administered by primary care physicians with the expert advice of a psychiatrist. Post hoc semistructured interviews were conducted with 21 intervention participants who were classified according to adherence or nonadherence to treatment. The interview focused on reactions to CBT; reactions to the different features of the intervention, such as therapy sessions, demonstration videotapes, exercises, and a workbook; and comfort with the therapist. Two members of the research team independently coded, analyzed, and interpreted the data. RESULTS: Three themes emerged: information was empowering and reduced the sense of isolation experienced by participants, participants engaged in a dynamic and iterative personalized assessment of the intervention, and barriers to adherence were predominantly logistical. CONCLUSIONS: Results indicate that the extent to which patients chose to remain in treatment and follow treatment recommendations was rarely an all-or-nothing phenomenon. In a disadvantaged population such decisions seem to be influenced by the beliefs of the patient about what will and will not be effective in his or her individual case, an ongoing self-assessment of well-being, and the logistical barriers that come into play.

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