The meaning of medications: another look at compliance

P. Conrad

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    581 Citations (Scopus)


    Most research on compliance with medical regimens takes a doctor-centered perspective and proceeds from certain assumptions. This paper presents an alternative, patient-centered approach to managing medications, using data from 80 in-depth interviews of people with epilepsy. This approach focuses on the meanings of medication in people's everyday lives and looks at why people take their medications as well as why they do not. I argue that from a patient's perspective the issue is more one of self-regulation than compliance. When we examine 'noncompliance' beyond difficulties with 'side effects' an drug efficacy, the meanings of self-regulation include testing, controlling dependence destigmatization and creating a practical practice. What appears to be noncompliance from a medical perspective may actually be a form of asserting control over one's disorder.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)29-37
    Number of pages9
    JournalSocial Science & Medicine
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 01 Jan 1985

    Bibliographical note

    Medline is the source for the MeSH terms of this document.


    Dive into the research topics of 'The meaning of medications: another look at compliance'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this