Effectiveness of interventions targeting self-regulation to improve adherence to chronic disease medications: a meta-review of meta-analyses

Tracey E. Wilson, Emily A. Hennessy, Louise Falzon, Rebekah Boyd, Ian M. Kronish, Jeffrey L. Birk

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations


Adherence to chronic disease medication regimens depends in part on successful self-regulation. However, the overall benefit of interventions targeting self-regulatory mechanisms is not well-understood. Accordingly, we conducted a meta-review of meta-analyses assessing the effect of interventions targeting self-regulation on medication adherence. For this meta-review, meta-analyses appearing between January 2006 and March 2019 were eligible if they included experimental trials that assessed the effect of an intervention targeting self-regulation on adherence to chronic disease medication. A systematic literature search of multiple databases for published and unpublished literature identified 16,001 abstracts. Twelve meta-analyses met eligibility criteria and had variable quality according to AMSTAR 2 item completion (M = 50%; range: 31–66%). Overall, meta-reviews showed small to medium effect sizes for interventions that targeted self-monitoring, provided personalised feedback on adherence, or involved complete self-management. Other interventions, such as goal setting, barrier identification and problem solving, and stress management showed little evidence of improving adherence. Only a limited number of self-regulation intervention components were able to be evaluated. Additional research is needed to advance the understanding of the efficacy of adherence interventions focussed on self-regulation by expanding the scope of self-regulation elements targeted (e.g., emotion regulation).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)66-85
Number of pages20
JournalHealth Psychology Review
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2 Jan 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • Meta-review
  • behavioural intervention
  • chronic disease
  • medication adherence
  • self-regulation


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