A review of studies concerning treatment adherence of patients with anxiety disorders

Lívia Santana, Leonardo F. Fontenelle

Research output: Contribution to journalReview ArticleResearchpeer-review

63 Citations (Scopus)


Objective: This paper aimed at describing the most consistent correlates and/or predictors of nonadherence to treatment of patients with different anxiety disorders. Method: The authors retrieved studies indexed in PubMed/MedLine, PsycINFO, and ISI Web of Knowledge using the following search terms: attrition OR dropout OR attrition rates OR patient dropouts OR treatment adherence AND anxiety disorders. Research was limited to articles published before January 2010. Results: Sixteen studies were selected that investigated the impact of sociodemographic, clinical, or cognitive variables on adherence to treatment for anxiety disorders. While no consistent pattern of sociodemographic or clinical features associated with nonadherence emerged, all studies that investigated cognitive variables in panic disorder, social anxiety disorder, and obsessive-compulsive disorder found that expectations and opinions about treatment were related to adherence. Conclusion: The findings of this study suggest that it is essential to consider anxiety disorder patients' beliefs about illness and treatment strategies to increase their compliance with the therapeutic plan.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)427-439
Number of pages13
JournalPatient Preference and Adherence
Publication statusPublished - 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • Attrition
  • Dropout
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder
  • OCD
  • Social anxiety disorder

Cite this