English conference proceeding

Theunissen, N.C.M., De-Ridder, D.T.D (2001) Application of the self-regulatory model of illness to adherence in patients with hypertension. Presentation at the EHPS 2001, The 15th conference of the European Health Psychology Society, St-Andrews, Scotland, 5-8 September. Previously published as Abstracts of Papers, now has volume number and ISSN 1350-472X . Proceedings of The British Psychological Society, Volume 11, No 1, February 2003.


The aim is to elaborate on the self-regulatory model of illness when studying patient-provider communication and adherence in patients with hypertension.
Leventhal’s self-regulatory model of illness states that people create their own personal illness representations (IR), which guide the coping with and appraisal of health threat. As a result adherence to treatment recommendations (both medication and lifestyle prescriptions) is supposed to be related to the patients IR. IRs received much research attention, but some questions about the model remain. For instance, according to the model, processing occurs both at a cognitive and an emotional level. Yet, the emotional aspects are underexposed in research. We hypothesised that cognitive and emotional IRs are interrelated. Furthermore, the model provides the option of a feedback loop, therefore it was hypothesised that an intervention aiming at a certain stage will influence the whole model. In addition, it was expected that the complexity of the prescriptions to adhere to, influences the feedback loop.
These and other subjects will be discussed using data sets from two sources: a cross-sectional study (n=180) in patients with essential hypertension using anti-hypertensives more than 1 year, and a longitudinal intervention study (n=110) in which general practitioners were trained to communicate about the patient’s lay illness representations or daily routines. Patients filled in questionnaires assessing illness representations (IPQ, BMQ), self-efficacy, stages of change and adherence. In addition, medication refill compliance and blood-pressure measurements were obtained. Findings will be presented and implications for future research will be discussed.


hypertension; self-regulatory model of illness; illness representations; action plans; adherence;

picture of N.C.M. Theunissen

Last updated on 12 February, 2015.