Pub. date: 2008 | Online Pub. Date: June 25, 2008 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412963978 | Print ISBN: 9781412909280 | Online ISBN: 9781412963978 | Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Rebecca H. Foster & Marilyn Stern
Compliance is defined as the degree to which patients' behaviors (e.g., attending follow-up appointments, engaging in preventive care, following recommended medical regimens) correspond with the professional medical advice prescribed. The terms compliance and adherence are often used interchangeably; however, because compliance may carry a negative connotation, some prefer to use adherence to emphasize patients' active roles in healthcare management as opposed to the submissiveness suggested in the definition of compliance . This distinction in definition acknowledges that patients and providers can move away from the patriarchal model of health care, promotes patient autonomy, and takes into account evidence suggesting that those who adhere steadfastly to providers' instructions may not be the healthiest psychologically or physically. While the patient's active role is considered vital in committing to a treatment regimen, for the purposes of this overview, the term compliance is utilized to maintain consistency. When adults are diagnosed with chronic illnesses, ...