Communicating information about medication side effects: Effects on satisfaction, perceived risk to health, and intention to comply

Fabio Sala, Edward Krupat, Debra Roter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

33 Scopus citations


Previous research has shown that people's evaluations of explanations about medication and their intention to comply with the prescription are detrimentally affected by the inclusion of information about adverse side effects of the medication. The present study (Experiment 1) examined which particular aspects of information about side effects (their number, likelihood of occurrence, or severity) are likely to have the greatest effect on people's satisfaction, perception of risk, and intention to comply, as well as how the information about side effects interacts with information about the severity of the illness for which the medication was prescribed. Across all measures, it was found that manipulations of side effect severity had the greatest impact on people's judgements, followed by manipulations of side effect likelihood and then number. Experiments 2 and 3 examined how the severity of the diagnosed illness and information about negative side effects interact with two other factors suggested by Social Cognition models of health behaviour to affect people's intention to comply: namely, perceived benefit of taking the prescribed drug, and the perceived level of control over preventing or alleviating the side effects. It was found that providing people with a statement about the positive benefit of taking the medication had relatively little effect on judgements, whereas informing them about how to reduce the chances of experiencing the side effects had an overall beneficial effect on ratings.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)247-267
Number of pages21
JournalPsychology and Health
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 2002


  • Communication
  • Compliance
  • Medication side effects
  • Perceived risk

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Applied Psychology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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