As the baby boom generation moves toward retirement and health care costs escalate, older adults will be expected to play a more active role in managing their own preventive care and treatment of existing conditions. In this age group, negative health events often occur not because cures for diseases are not available or because proper treatment was not applied, but because patients fail to follow the medical instructions or regimens that maintain their health. Medical complications frequently arise because patients have difficulty understanding and following their providers’ directions, or are unwilling to follow them.

In Medical Adherence and Aging: Social and Cognitive Perspectives prominent psychologists and geriatricians examine the research on nonadherence using a cognitive, social, and developmental framework. While they focus particularly on the problems of older adults, the findings are highly relevant to other groups of patients who have cognitive compromise, such as those who have psychiatric or neurological disorders, some HIV patients, and patients who are in pain. The context in which medical instructions are presented and comprehended is addressed as well as the role of motivational and judgmental factors in keeping to a treatment regimen. The contributors also discuss the relationship between technology-based delivery of medical services and adherence.

This volume will interest psychologists in a variety of subfields including health, rehabilitative, social, and experimental psychology, as well as geriatric nurses, social workers, and researchers in medical schools.

Table of Contents



I. Theoretical Frameworks

  1. A Broad View of Medical Adherence: Integrating Cognitive, Social, and Contextual Factors
    Denise C. Park and Michelle L. Meade
  2. The Role of Goal Setting and Goal Striving in Medical Adherence
    Peter M. Gollwitzer and Gabriele Oettingen
  3. Prospective Memory Components Most at Risk for Older Adults and Implications for Medication Adherence
    Mark A. McDaniel and Gilles O. Einstein
  4. Patient–Doctor Interactions in an Aging Society: The Opportunities for Behavioral Research
    Elaine A. Leventhal and Howard Leventhal

II. Understanding Doctors' Instructions

  1. How Older Patients Learn Medical Information
    Scott C. Brown
  2. Representations of Self and Illness in the Patient–Physician Relationship
    Manfred Diehl, Angelenia Semegon, and Lise M. Youngblade
  3. Trusting Medical Authorities: Effects of Cognitive Aging and Social Vigilance
    Emily Chan, Oscar Ybarra, Denise C. Park, Joel Rodriguez, and Julie A. Garcia

III. Adherence to Treatment

  1. Motivational Models, Volitional Processes in the Promotion of Health Behaviors
    Sheina Orbell
  2. Judgment and Decision Processes in Older Adults' Compliance With Medical Regimens
    Linda L. Liu and Richard Gonzalez

IV. Technology and Treatment

  1. Customized Communication in Patient Education
    Matthew W. Kreuter, Ricardo Wray, and Charlene Caburnay
  2. Helping Patients Follow Their Doctor's Instructions: Matching Instructional Media to Task Demands
    Anne C. McLaughlin, Wendy A. Rogers, and Arthur D. Fisk
  3. Using Telecommunication Technologies to Deliver Home-Based Care to Seniors
    Pamela Whitten

Author Index

Subject Index

About the Editors