First Advisor

Barbara J. Stewart

Date of Publication


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (M.S.) in Psychology






Attitude (Psychology) -- Testing, Patient compliance, Psychotherapy patients



Physical Description

1 online resource (93 p.)


While much research has examined factors thought to affect patient compliance with therapeutic regimen, relatively little is known about the relationship between psychiatric patients' attitudes toward treatment regimen and their adherence to the treatment regimen. Compliance rates for psychiatric patients remain the lowest of the medical patient population, probably due to psychological and social characteristics of psychiatric patients. Because of a trend in the United States toward self-medication for an increasingly ambulatory psychiatric patient population, the ability to predict patient compliance with medication regimen has become more important than ever before. Before potential noncompliers can be identified and patient compliance predicted through the use of attitudes, an examination of the nature of these attitudes is needed.

Scientific literature and theory suggest that attitude is one of several variables which corresponds to behavior. Specific attitudes are thought to develop as a result of 2 real or vicarious experience with the attitude referent. In addition, research has shown that attitudes toward specific objects correlate highly with beliefs, behavioral intentions, and behavior. Therefore, it is hypothesized that psychiatric patients with prior medicine-taking experience will have developed different patterns of attitudes toward pharmacological treatment than will medicine-naive patients. The hypothesis implies that knowing these attitudes will permit prediction of compliance of experienced and naive patients with therapeutic regimen.

As the first step of investigating using attitudes to predict compliance, a 20-item Likert-type rating scale, the Psychiatric Medicine Attitude Scale (PMAS), was developed. An alternate forms reliability coefficient of .93 was obtained. Mean score for Form A for the psychiatric medicineexperienced subjects was 2.85, for the medicine-naive subjects, 3.40. Form B scores were 3.17 for the experienced subjects and 3.51 for the naive subjects. These scores show that on both Forms A and B, individuals without prior experience with psychiatric medicine tended tb express more negative attitudes toward the referent object than did the subjects who had previous medicine experience.

The next steps, outside the range of this project, will be to develop norms and to ascertain if compliance behaviors will be a function of PMAS scores.


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