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A relationship exists between non-adherence and clinical outcomes in health care, including renal transplantation. The aim of this study was to identify the psychological variables associated with non-adherence to medication after renal transplantation.This cross-sectional study involved 34 patients, 38% male, with a mean age of 49 yr (range 26–70) and a mean of six yr post-transplantation. Adherence to medication was measured by two items: (i) the frequency of not taking medications and (ii) the frequency of not taking medications exactly as prescribed. The psychological variables were: dispositional coping style (COPE) and five items measuring barriers and perceived characteristics of the medication regimen. Descriptive and multivariate analyses were utilized to examine the data.Twenty-four per cent of patients reported less than perfect adherence. Individuals who were younger, who perceived less autonomy in the management of treatment and who were characterized by an active coping style were less likely to adhere to medication. Individuals who perceived less autonomy and a higher level of interference of treatment with their life patterns were less likely to take medication exactly as prescribed.The finding of this study suggests that adherence to medications after renal transplant is associated with psychological variables, such as coping style and perceived autonomy in the management of treatment. Understanding of the patient's perspective may help to develop effective interventions to increase the levels of adherence to medications that may result in better clinical outcomes.