Scientists, physicians, and legislators have come to appreciate the fact that delivery of health care is in part dependent upon the willingness and motivation of patients to participate in the medication regimen(s) being proffered. Therefore, for effective therapy to be either given or tested, individuals who are ill must adhere to the instructions given by the dispensers of advice and/or medication. From the public health perspective, the establishment of compliance in the aggregate is also necessary for healthy people. Such individuals have to learn behaviors that help them maintain a healthy life style (e.g., proper nutrition, exercise, etc.) and avoid the initiation of risky behaviors (e.g., cigarette smoking, excessive drinking, illicit drug use, unprotected sexual intercourse, etc.), that could lead to the onset of pathology such as neoplastic, cardiovascular, and sexually transmitted diseases. In the 1970s, research on health related compliance behavior was conducted in large part on adult populations (particularly in relation to cardiovascular disease) to help gain an understanding of how such behaviors could be taught and maintained in specific target populations.
In the 1980s compliance research changed its focus to an investigation of acute diseases in pediatric populations. As the decade wore on, the emphasis continued to be on children, but researchers became interested in the relationships between compliance behaviors and chronic conditions (e.g., diabetes, asthma, obesity, hemophilia, etc.). As these studies continued, researchers became aware that the mechanisms that underpin compliance behavior(s) in children are qualitatively different from those observed in adults. Investigators have come to realize that in order to fully understand compliance behavior of pediatric populations, developmental factors have to be factored in.
This volume arose out of a conference sponsored by the Human Learning and