Systematic reviews about treatment attitudes of patients influencing adherence in bipolar disorder (BD) are rare.
A systematic review was conducted according to the PRISMA guidelines and principles of thematic synthesis. Selectively identified quantitative and qualitative studies were used to examine the attitude-adherence relationship in BD, the types and correlates of treatment attitudes, and the impact of psychosocial interventions on attitudes.
The final list of 163 articles included 114 observational reports (incorporating 21 psychosocial intervention trials), 45 qualitative/descriptive studies, and 4 patient surveys. A positive association between treatment attitudes and adherence was found in most quantitative and qualitative studies, though the strength of the relationship was unclear. Thematic analysis of qualitative studies suggested that patient attitudes influencing adherence were based on perceived advantages and disadvantages of treatment. The principal correlates of patients’ attitudes were family attitudes, the clinician-patient alliance, social support, and patients’ knowledge of BD. Though negative attitudes such as denial, concerns about adverse treatment consequences, and stigmatizing effects of treatment were common, many patients believed treatment to be beneficial and necessary. The limited data on the effect of psychosocial interventions indicated that treatments selectively targeting attitudes enhanced adherence.
The studies were heterogeneous in design; the quality was uneven (fair to poor); and the risk of bias moderate to high.
Despite these flaws, awareness of the existing evidence on the attitude-adherence association and other aspects of treatment attitudes in BD can help in efforts to address nonadherence in BD.