Adherence to treatment (defined as the active, voluntary, collaborative involvement of the patient in a mutually acceptable course of behavior to produce a desired preventive or therapeutic result) is not always simple, and for adolescents suffering from chronic conditions even less.
Adolescence is a time of transitions: from childhood to adulthood, from education to employment, from pediatrics to adult health, from controlled treatment to treatment control. This means that they have to manage their treatment (which may cause problems with their parents who had this function until then) and have the right to disagree (which may cause problems with their health care providers).
In fact, among adolescents with chronic diseases, treatment adherence rates vary widely depending on the condition: from 98–99% for cancer to 77% for mild asthma or 55–86% for renal transplant recipients, for example. Nevertheless, and although self-report is often overestimated, part of the variation among adherence rates is also due to what kind of cut-off point for good/acceptable adherence is used.
Although there are many factors influencing adherence (such as side effects, taste, motivation or severity of the condition to mention a few), there is fair amount of literature related to the predictors of a good or a poor adherence. This presentation will explore the main causes of non-adherence among youths and practical and relatively simple ways to increase their adherence rate.