Depression Literacy Linked to Medication Adherence

Females had a statistically significant higher score on the Depression Literacy Questionnaire compared with males.

Depression literacy is higher in women and positively associated with medication adherence, according to a study published in the Journal of Mood Disorders.

Dushad Ram, MD, from the Department of Psychiatry, JSS Medical College, Mysore, and colleagues conducted a single center, hospital-based, cross-sectional study to examine the relationship between depression literacy, defined as the ability to recognize depression and make informed decisions about treatment, and adherence to medications.

 “Low health literacy has been associated with overall poor outcome of medical illness, while higher health literacy has been reported to mediate adherence and outcome,” the study authors wrote. “This may apply to depression as well. Level of knowledge about depression may facilitate or hamper adherence.”

The researchers examined socio-demographic data from 130 patients (median age, 38.5 years) with major depressive disorder at an outpatient psychiatry department at a tertiary care center in South India.

The participants completed a Depression Literacy Questionnaire, a self-reported, 22-question survey that measured the literacy of depression in patients. The investigators also used a Medication Adherence Rating Scale, consisting of 10 questions regarding the administration of medications and the attitudes of these medications. The score range for each question was between 0 and 1, and a higher total score indicated lower medication adherence.

The median score from the Depression Literacy Questionnaire was 13.21, and the median score for the Medication Adherence Rating Scale was 0. The researchers identified 2 trends of common incorrect responses regarding the cognitive and treatment aspect of depression. They also noted that female gender had a statistically significant higher score on the Depression Literacy Questionnaire compared with male gender, and this was positively associated with medication adherence.

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  1. Ram D, Benny N, Gowdappa B. Relationship between depression literacy and medication adherence in patients with depression. J Mood. 2016;6(4):183-188. doi:10.5455/jmood.20161123023646

This article originally appeared on Clinical Advisor