South African Family Practice

Log in or Register to get access to full text downloads.

Remember me or Register

Reasons for non-compliance to treatment among patients with psychiatric illness: A qualitative study

SA Sharif, GA Ogunbanjo, NH Malete


Aim: To understand the reasons for non-compliance to treatment among patients suffering from psychiatric illnesses in Mmametlhake health district, South Africa.

Setting: Mmametlhake health district, Mpumalanga province, South Africa.

Methods: A descriptive, qualitative study was done using a free attitude interview technique. Each respondent's interview was paired with that of his/ her family member (care giver) and later integrated into a single model to obtain integrated themes.

Results: Side effects of medications were the most common reason for non-compliance to treatment. Other reasons were respondents' different belief systems, poor insight about their illness, ineffectivity of some medication, dislike for injections, lack of continuity of care and family support, non-involvement of patients in their own management. Social stigma, objection by a particular religious group to treatment and cancellation of disability grant were also linked to some patients' non-compliance to treatment.

Conclusions: Through better understanding of the reasons mentioned in this study and increased co-operation between primary care clinicians, patients and their caregivers, non-compliance to treatment among patients with psychiatric illnesses can be significantly minimized. Further studies are necessary to confirm these findings and evaluate intervention strategies.

SA Fam Pract 2003;45(4):10-13

Keywords: Psychiatric illness, non-compliance, treatment, rural, qualitative study

AJOL African Journals Online