Self-Determination Theory and Preventive Medication Adherence: Motivational Considerations to Support Historically Marginalized Adolescents With Asthma



      Using self-determination theory, we explored relationships between autonomous motivation (AM) and perceived competence (PC) with previously validated measures of motivation and adolescent-reported asthma medication adherence.


      Data were from adolescents (n = 260) enrolled in the School-Based Asthma Care for Teens study and taking preventive medication at baseline. Eligible adolescents (aged 12–16 years) had physician-diagnosed persistent asthma or poor control.


      Adolescents taking daily preventive medicine reported higher AM and PC for adherence, whereas adolescents likely to miss ≥1 dose in the next 2 weeks had lower AM and PC. Adolescents taking medicines as prescribed, with plans to continue, and those feeling able to follow provider care plans, had higher AM and PC. Findings remained significant in regressions with control variables.


      Many factors interfere with adolescent medication-taking. Clinicians’ efforts to build AM and PC with patients and caregivers may be key to promoting adherence in this group.


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