A closer look at depression and its relationship to HIV antiretroviral adherence

Glenn J. Wagner, Kathy Goggin, Robert H. Remien, Marc I. Rosen, Jane Simoni, David R. Bangsberg, Honghu Liu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

103 Scopus citations


Background Depression consistently predicts nonadherence to human immunodeficiency virus antiretroviral therapy, but which aspects of depression are most influential are unknown. Such knowledge could inform assessments of adherence readiness and the type of depression treatment to utilize. Purpose We examined how depression severity, symptom type, and change over time relate to adherence. Methods Microelectronic adherence and self-reported depression data from 1,374 participants across merged studies were examined with cross-sectional and longitudinal analyses. Depression variables included a continuous measure, categorical measure of severity, cognitive and vegetative subscales, and individual symptoms. Results At baseline, mean adherence was 69%, and 25% had mild/moderate and 18% had severe depression. In cross-sectional multivariate analyses, continuous depression, cognitive depressive symptoms, and severe depression were associated with lower adherence. In longitudinal analysis, reductions in both continuous and categorical depression predicted increased adherence. Conclusions The relationship between global continuous depression and nonadherence was statistically significant, but relatively weak compared to that of cognitive depressive symptoms and severe depression, which appear to pose strong challenges to adherence and call for the need for early detection and treatment of depression.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)352-360
Number of pages9
JournalAnnals of Behavioral Medicine
Issue number3
StatePublished - Dec 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • Antiretroviral adherence
  • Cognitive depressive symptoms
  • Depression

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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