Impact of stress, distress and feelings of indebtedness on adherence to immunosuppressants following kidney transplantation

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Abstract

In order to ensure transplantation's long-term success, transplant recipients need to comply with a strict regimen of immunosuppressant medication on a daily basis for the rest of their lives. Nonadherence is one of the major causes of organ rejection. Because compliance is voluntary, it is likely to be influenced by an individual's beliefs and feelings. This study examined the impact on compliance of the following factors: (1) transplant-related stress; (2) general perceived stress; (3) psychosocial distress and (4) feelings of indebtedness and guilt towards the donor. Fifty kidney recipients (34 men, 16 women) filled out self-report questionnaires. The results indicate that 46% acknowledged sub-optimal compliance in the last month; patients more often reported not taking the medication exactly as prescribed than forgetting to take it. The results also suggest that psychological distress and general perceived stress affect compliance negatively, whereas feelings of indebtedness improve it. These results have implications for the understanding and management of compliance following organ transplantation.

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