What is it about?

Few treatments exist which focus specifically on increasing adherence to medication taking in teens with epilepsy. Given the wide-spread use of technology in teens, mobile health interventions offer a cost-effective and acceptable solution to help encourage teens to take their medications. Additionally, social norms interventions use the influence of peers and social feedback to encourage teens to engage in positive health behavior. The goal of the current study is to develop a social norms adherence intervention using a mobile technology format for adolescents with epilepsy. The development process included gathering input about usability from adolescents with epilepsy via focus groups. Researchers used a behavioral economics framework, the BEST framework, to ensure the tool was easy to use, attracted the attention of the teens, used interpersonal influence (e.g., social approval) to promote behavior, and gave feedback in a timely manner. The end result was a mHealth tool designed to increase antiepileptic medication adherence. The next step will be to demonstrate acceptability and impact of the intervention tool with a large sample of adolescents with epilepsy.

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Why is it important?

Many pediatric patients with epilepsy do not take antiepileptic medications as prescribed by their medical team resulting in more frequent doctors’ appointments and hospitalizations as well negative health outcomes such as seizures and death. Teenagers are particularly at risk for not taking their medications for multiple reasons including that they are more likely to engage in risky behaviors, are sensitive to social influence from friends and peers, and are likely to reject parental supervision or involvement in their medication-taking routines to demonstrate responsibility or independence. The current study developed a tool for adolescent with epilepsy that is tailored to their developmental needs and designed to increase adherence to antiepileptic medications and in turn, decrease negative long term health outcomes of non-adherence.

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This page is a summary of: The development of a social norms adherence intervention for adolescents with epilepsy, Epilepsy & Behavior, January 2021, Elsevier, DOI: 10.1016/j.yebeh.2020.107628.
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