Initiation of and adherence to treatment for mental disorders: Examination of patient advocate group members in 11 countries

Philip S. Wang, Stephen E. Gilman, Mary Guardino, Jeanine M. Christiana, Paolo Lucio Morselli, Kristin Mickelson, Ronald C. Kessler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

49 Scopus citations


OBJECTIVE. Greater understanding of the help-seeking process is needed to reduce the level of unmet need for mental health treatment. DESIGN. Cross-sectional mail survey. STUDY POPULATION. The study population consisted of 3,516 respondents to a survey of members of 14 patient advocacy groups in 11 countries. Respondents reported whether they initiated and adhered to the treatment most recently recommended to them. OUTCOMES. Crude and adjusted likelihoods of initiating and adhering to recommended treatment were studied. RESULTS. The vast majority of respondents reported initiating the most recent treatment recommended to them (94%), and most of those who initiated treatment also adhered to such treatment (83%). Predictors of initiation by the respondents included higher levels of education, having pharmacotherapy recommended to the respondent, and having received explanations about the diagnosis and treatment. Predictors of adherence to therapy included male gender, receipt of pharmacotherapy, and presence of insurance coverage. Side effects were an important reported reason for treatment dropout, with 44% of respondents reporting lifetime treatment dropout due to side effects. CONCLUSIONS. Successful initiation and adherence to mental health treatments depend critically on patients' knowledge and awareness, clinicians' communication skills, treatment side effects, and barriers such as lack of insurance. Further study and intervention focused on these modifiable factors are needed to improve the adequacy of mental health treatment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)926-936
Number of pages11
JournalMedical care
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2000
Externally publishedYes


  • Mental disorders
  • Patient advocate groups
  • Treatment adherence
  • Treatment initiation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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