Strategies to predict, measure, and improve psychosocial treatment adherence

Robin E. Gearing, Lisa Townsend, Jennifer Elkins, Nabila El-Bassel, Lars Osterberg

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Nonadherence to psychosocial and behavioral treatment is a significant public health problem that presents a barrier to recovery and effective treatment. An estimated 20% to 70% of individuals who initiate psychosocial mental health services discontinue treatment prior to clinicians' recommendations. Empirically supported, evidence-based, stand-alone or adjunctive psychosocial interventions treat an increasingly wide range of mental health conditions. A core assumption of most, if not all, interventions is that clients will fully and actively engage in the treatment protocol. Adherence to psychosocial treatment has received much less scientific attention, however, than adherence to medical treatment. Drawing extensively from existing research, this comprehensive review conceptualizes several types of psychosocial and behavioral treatment adherence, examines predictors of adherence to psychosocial treatment, summarizes measures of adherence, and describes existing interventions to enhance psychosocial treatment adherence.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)31-45
Number of pages15
JournalHarvard review of psychiatry
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2014


  • Adherence
  • Discontinuation
  • Dropout
  • Nonadherence
  • Premature termination
  • Psychosocial treatment
  • Treatment compliance
  • Treatment noncompletion

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health


Dive into the research topics of 'Strategies to predict, measure, and improve psychosocial treatment adherence'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this