Changes in ART Adherence Relate to Changes in Depression as Well!

Evidence for the Bi-directional Longitudinal Relationship Between Depression and ART Adherence from a Prospective Study of HIV Clients in Uganda

Published in: AIDS and Behavior (2019). doi: 10.1007/s10461-019-02754-8

Posted on RAND.org on May 12, 2020

by Glenn Wagner, Bonnie Ghosh-Dastidar, Barbara Mukasa, Sebastian Linnemayr

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Studies have documented how levels and change in depression correspond to ART non-adherence. However, few studies have examined how levels of and change in adherence may relate to levels of and change in depression, although one might expect mental health to be related to physical health and how successful one is in managing disease. To assess the bidirectional nature of the association between these two constructs, we examined data from a prospective trial of an ART adherence intervention in Uganda that followed 143 participants over 20 months. Adherence was measured using electronic monitoring caps; non-adherence was defined as missing > 10% of prescribed doses; self-reported depression was measured using the Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ-9), and PHQ-9 > 4 defined the presence of at least minor depression. Adjusted linear and logistic regression models were used to examine the longitudinal relationships between depression and non-adherence. At baseline, 40.6% had at least minor depression and 37.1% were non-adherent. Time varying change in the classification of depression (e.g., becoming depressed) predicted change in non-adherence status (e.g., becoming non-adherent), and this association remained when examining continuous measures of the constructs. Similarly, time varying measures of increases in non-adherence predicted increases in depression, regardless of whether continuous or binary classification measures were used. A temporal trend of increased non-adherence over time was observed, and this was accelerated by an increase in depression. Furthermore, those who had at least minor depression at baseline were more likely to be non-adherent at follow-up. These findings support the potential benefits of depression care and adherence support for improving adherence and mental health, respectively, and call for further research to examine such benefits.

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