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The influence of cultural and religious orientations on social support and its potential impact on medication adherence

Authors Md Hatah E, Lim KP, Mohd Ali A, Mohamed Shah N, Islahudin F

Received 17 December 2014

Accepted for publication 3 March 2015

Published 24 April 2015 Volume 2015:9 Pages 589—596


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 3

Editor who approved publication: Dr Johnny Chen

Ernieda Hatah,1 Kien Ping Lim,1,2 Adliah Mohd Ali,1 Noraida Mohamed Shah,1 Farida Islahudin1

1Faculty of Pharmacy, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, Jalan Raja Muda Abdul Aziz, 2Pharmacy Department, Kuala Lumpur General Hospital, Jalan Pahang, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Purpose: Social support can positively influence patients’ health outcomes through a number of mechanisms, such as increases in patients’ adherence to medication. Although there have been studies on the influence of social support on medication adherence, these studies were conducted in Western settings, not in Asian settings where cultural and religious orientations may be different. The objective of this study was to assess the effects of cultural orientation and religiosity on social support and its relation to patients’ medication adherence.
Methods: This was a cross-sectional study of patients with chronic diseases in two tertiary hospitals in Selangor, Malaysia. Patients who agreed to participate in the study were asked to answer questions in the following areas: 1) perceived group and higher authority cultural orientations; 2) religiosity: organizational and non-organizational religious activities, and intrinsic religiosity; 3) perceived social support; and 4) self-reported medication adherence. Patients’ medication adherence was modeled using multiple logistic regressions, and only variables with a P-value of <0.25 were included in the analysis.
Results: A total of 300 patients completed the questionnaire, with the exception of 40 participants who did not complete the cultural orientation question. The mean age of the patients was 57.6±13.5. Group cultural orientation, organizational religious activity, non-organizational religious activity, and intrinsic religiosity demonstrated significant associations with patients’ perceived social support (r=0.181, P=0.003; r=0.230, P<0.001; r=0.135, P=0.019; and r=0.156, P=0.007, respectively). In the medication adherence model, only age, duration of treatment, organizational religious activity, and disease type (human immunodeficiency virus) were found to significantly influence patients’ adherence to medications (adjusted odds ratio [OR] 1.05, P=0.002; OR 0.99, P=0.025; OR 1.19, P=0.038; and OR 9.08, P<0.05, respectively).
Conclusion: When examining religious practice and cultural orientation, social support was not found to have significant influence on patients’ medication adherence. Only age, duration of treatment, organizational religious activity, and disease type (human immunodeficiency virus) had significant influence on patients’ adherence.

Keywords: group orientation, power distance, religiosity

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