Cystic fibrosis (CF) is now as much a disease of adults as of children and adolescents. An important focus of recent research has been the impact of the complex, expensive, and time consuming routine of self-care and medical treatment that is required by adults with CF to maintain health. A growing concern for medical and allied health teams is the issue of patient adherence to prescribed health management plans. A summary of the particular medical and treatment context of CF is followed by a review of adherence measurement issues and the determinants of adherence to treatment regimens in people with CF, primarily adults. Evidence for factors which influence adherence decisions of people with CF is examined. The medical and psychological aspects of this complex problem have not been adequately addressed because of difficulties with definition and measurement. Only a small proportion of the variance in adherence has been accounted for in the literature. New measurement technologies and new theoretical directions offer promise for a better understanding of this complex and important issue and may result in more effective intervention strategies to improve adherence.
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