Development and content validation of measures assessing adherence barriers and behaviors for use in clinical care

R. J. Fredericksen, Frances Margaret Yang, L. E. Gibbons, T. C. Edwards, S. Brown, E. Fitzsimmons, K. Alperovitz-Bichell, M. Godfrey, A. Wang, A. Church, C. Gutierrez, E. Paez, L. Dant, S. Loo, M. Walcott, M. J. Mugavero, K. H. Mayer, W. C. Mathews, D. L. Patrick, P. K. CraneH. M. Crane

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Background: Providers are often unaware of poor adherence to prescribed medications for their patients with chronic diseases. Objective: To develop brief, computer-administered patient-reported measures in English and Spanish assessing adherence behaviors and barriers. Design, Participants, and Main Measures: Item pools were constructed from existing measures of medication adherence behaviors and barriers, which informed development of a patient concept elicitation interview guide to identify medication adherence behavior and barrier-related concepts. Two hundred six patients either living with HIV (PLWH) or without were interviewed. Interviews were coded, concepts matched to item pool content, and new items were developed for novel concepts. A provider/investigator team highlighted clinically relevant items. Cognitive interviews were conducted with patients on final candidate items (n = 37). The instruments were administered to 2081 PLWH. Key results: Behavioral themes from concept elicitation interviews included routines incorporating time of day, placement, visual cues, and intentionality to miss or skip doses. Barrier themes included health-related (e.g. depressed mood, feeling ill), attitudes/beliefs (e.g., need for medication), access (e.g., cost/insurance problems), and circumstantial barriers (e.g., lack of privacy, disruption of daily routine). The final instruments included 6 behavior items, and 1 barrier item with up to 23 response options. PLWH endorsed a mean (SD) of 3.5 (1.1) behaviors. The 201 PLWH who missed ≥2 doses in the previous week endorsed a mean (SD) of 3.1 (2.5) barriers. The intraclass correlation coefficient (ICC) for the numbers of behaviors endorsed in 61 PLWH after 4–16 days was 0.54 and for the number of barriers for the 20 PLWH with ≥2 missed doses the ICC was 0.89, representing fair and excellent test-retest reliability. Conclusion: Measures of medication adherence behaviors and barriers were developed for use with patients living with chronic diseases focusing on clinical relevance, brevity, and content validity for use in clinical care.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1168-1176
Number of pages9
JournalResearch in Social and Administrative Pharmacy
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2019


  • Medication adherence
  • Patient-reported outcomes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacy
  • Pharmaceutical Science


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