A personal construct theory approach to addressing adherence in an adolescent asthmatic population
This study is an exploratory investigation into understanding adherence behaviour in a random sample of 13 asthmatic adolescents selected from a General Practice population. Personal Construct Theory is used as a theoretical and methodological framework within which to assess the meaning of having asthma and taking medication to each participant. Asthma and adherence perceptions are also obtained in a semistructured interview. Measures of subjective asthma status are obtained using a global severity rating scale and the Paediatric Asthma Quality of Life Questionnaire. Subjective measures of adherence are also obtained from the participant, their parent and their health-care provider. A qualitative analysis of the results reveals that, for the majority of the sample, self-construal of adherence is consistent with self-construal of asthma. A content analysis of elicited constructs reveals a category of themes, which show direct parallels with models of health behaviour change and adolescent development. It is proposed that these results provide the basis for the development of a model of adherence in asthmatic adolescents. The validity of the grid methodology is assessed through feedback of the results to the participants and comparison of data sources. It is concluded that the grid is a valid tool for addressing perceptions of asthma and adherence. Reliability of the methodology is not addressed. Implications for the use of the methodology within a clinical setting and recommendations for further research are discussed.