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BMC Psychiatry




Background: Poor adherence to medication in schizophrenia spectrum disorders leads to inadequate symptom control. Adherence therapy (AT) is an intervention that seeks to reduce patients’ psychiatric symptoms by enhancing treatment adherence. We aimed to systematically review the trial evidence of the effectiveness of AT on improving clinical outcomes in these patients.

Method: Systematic review and meta-analysis of published RCTs. We included studies testing AT as an adjunct intervention against treatment as usual or a comparator intervention in the general adult psychiatric population. The primary outcome of interest was improvement in psychiatric symptoms.

Results: We included six studies testing AT in schizophrenia spectrum disorders published since 2006. A meta-analysis showed AT significantly reduced psychiatric symptoms compared to usual treatment over a follow-up period of less than 1 year. We found no significant effects of AT on patients’ adherence and adherence attitudes.

Conclusions: AT is an effective adjunctive treatment for people with schizophrenia spectrum disorders.


© 2016 Gray et al. Open Access This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver ( applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated.

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