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Patient non-adherence: an interpretative phenomenological analysis

Vidya Dalvi (Department of Commerce, Government College of Arts, Science and Commerce, Quepem, India)
Nandakumar Mekoth (Department of Management Studies, Goa University, Goa, India)

International Journal of Health Care Quality Assurance

ISSN: 0952-6862

Article publication date: 18 April 2017




While interpretative phenomenological analysis (IPA) has been used in health psychology research, it has so far not been applied to seek deeper insights into the patients’ experiences about treatment. The purpose of this paper is to address this gap by using IPA to understand patient non-adherence.


In total, 18 patients with chronic conditions seeking healthcare services in Goa and Karnataka, India, were selected by using the snowball sampling method. In-depth interviews were conducted face to face. A semi-structured questionnaire developed by the researchers was used to collect the data. IPA was used to explore the themes to predict patient non-adherence.


The study results indicate that economic factors, health system related factors, social factors and psychological factors impact patient non-adherence. Patient non-adherence includes medication non-adherence and lifestyle modification non-adherence.

Research limitations/implications

Being cross sectional in design, the results may not be as appropriate as the results derived from a longitudinal study given that non-adherence occurs over time.

Practical implications

Patient non-adherence is a global health issue. Multidisciplinary approach to enhance patient adherence to treatment should form part of public healthcare policy.

Social implications

Exploring the factors influencing patient non-adherence will help the health-care industry stakeholders to reduce healthcare cost and improve patient’s quality of life.


Although there is extensive quantitative research on the prevalence of non-adherence, qualitative research is limited. This paper addresses this gap by using IPA to understand patient non-adherence and its factors and dimensions.



Dalvi, V. and Mekoth, N. (2017), "Patient non-adherence: an interpretative phenomenological analysis", International Journal of Health Care Quality Assurance, Vol. 30 No. 3, pp. 274-284.



Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2017, Emerald Publishing Limited

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