Chronic pediatric health conditions pose a significant challenge for youth, their families and professionals who treat these conditions. Long-term adherence to interventions, including and often-times, pharmacological interventions, is necessary but often problematic. Understanding factors related to poor adherence and intervening to improve adherence is essential in order to maximize long-term outcomes. Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is one such chronic health condition requiring long-term adherence to treatment. The aims of this review are to 1) review the extant literature regarding rates of adherence to medication for youth with ADHD; 2) summarize what is known regarding factors that impede and support greater adherence to medication; 3) introduce the Unified Theory of Behavior Change as a conceptual model that may assist in developing adherence treatment packages to support medication adherence; and 4) describe several potential interventions based on the Unified Theory of Behavior Change that may improve adherence to medication for youth with ADHD. Although pharmacological interventions for youth with ADHD have been evaluated for decades, only more recently has adherence to medication been the subject of interest. However, this literature has exclusively focused on understanding factors related to adherence, with no empirical studies of interventions to improve adherence in youth with ADHD. This paper provides a rationale and research agenda for systematic study of interventions to support medication adherence in youth with ADHD.
Keywords: Medication, adherence, compliance, ADHD, stimulant medication, pediatric, review
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