Patients' Journey to Medication Adherence (2017-2018)

Taking medication may appear straightforward and routine. Yet for some patients, it may be an emotional struggle, a daily reminder of the illness they have to endure and the accompanying impediments that complicate their decisions and actions to follow doctors’ orders. In the U.S., about half of the 3.2 billion prescriptions dispensed annually are not taken as instructed, leading to 125,000 preventable deaths and wasted medical expenditure of $290 billion a year.

This project team focused on better understanding patients’ feelings and thought processes regarding medication use in order to gain richer insights into patient disincentives and motivators for more optimal medication adherence. The team conducted focus groups and interviews to assess attitudes to nonadherence behavior and study cultural differences in the perceptions and value of medication.

The team also completed a systematic review of psychosocial motivators and barriers to oral anti-cancer medication adherence in breast cancer patients that appeared in Breast Cancer Research and Treatment.


Fall 2017 – Summer 2018

Team Outputs

Self-efficacy and Adherence Behaviors in Rheumatoid Arthritis Patients (poster by Christiana Oshotse, presented at Visible Thinking, Duke University, April 22, 2019)

Understanding Rheumatoid Arthritis Patients’ Journey to Medication Adherence (poster by Shweta Lodha, Karley Whelan, Christiana Oshotse, Cheryl Lin, Pikuei Tu, Hayden Bosworth, Leah Zullig, Rachel Clark; American Public Health Association’s Annual Meeting and Expo, San Diego, CA, November 12, 2018)

Christiana Oshotse, Leah L. Zullig, Hayden B. Bosworth, Pikuei Tu, Cheryl Lin. “Self-Efficacy and Adherence Behaviors in Rheumatoid Arthritis Patients.“ 2018. Preventing Chronic Disease: Public Health Research, Practice, and Policy.

Understanding Patients' Journey to Medication Adherence (poster by Shweta Lodha, Karley Whelan, Christiana Oshotse, Hayden Bosworth, Cheryl Lin, Pikuei Tu, Leah Zullig; Judges’ Selection Runner-up at Bass Connections Showcase, April 18, 2018)

Cheryl Lin, Rachel Clark, Pikuei Tu, Hayden B. Bosworth, Leah L. Zullig. “Breast cancer oral anti-cancer medication adherence: a systematic review of psychosocial motivators and barriers.” 2017. Breast Cancer Research and Treatment 165(2):247-260.

Presentation at American Public Health Association Annual Meeting (November 4-8, 2017, Atlanta, GA); Finalist for 2017 Aetna Award for Excellence in Research

2017 Duke Health Forum—Take Our Pain Away: Patients, Practice and Policy of Opioid Epidemic, August 28, 2017


Shweta Lodha

This Team in the News

“Invisible” Illnesses: Exploring Medication Adherence from the Patient’s Perspective

Meet the Members of the 2018-19 Student Advisory Council

Snapshots in Civic Engagement

Bass Connections Showcase Presents Research Highlights from Durham to Malaysia

Judges’ Selection for Best Poster Goes to Team Exploring Health Needs of Refugees in Durham

From Serving Meals to Studying Patients’ Behavior, This Research Team Thrives on Collaboration

See related team, Patients' Journey to Medication Adherence (2018-2019).


Team Leaders

  • Hayden Bosworth, School of Medicine-Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences
  • Cheryl Lin, John Hope Franklin Center, Duke Policy and Organizational Management Program, Markets and Management Studies, International Studies
  • Pikuei Tu, John Hope Franklin Center, Duke Policy and Organizational Management Program, Markets and Management Studies, International Studies
  • Leah Zullig, School of Medicine-Population Health Sciences

/undergraduate Team Members

  • Shweta Lodha, Neuroscience (AB)
  • Christiana Oshotse, Public Policy Studies (AB)
  • Karley Whelan, Sociology (AB)

/zcommunity Team Members

  • Laura Bayzle, The Link Group
  • Rachel Clark, RTI International
  • Rungting Tu, Management School, Shenzhen University, China