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Research project: A pilot study of satisfaction and adherence with antipsychotic medication in people with schizophrenia or schizoaffective disorders in prisons - Dormant - Dormant

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Studies have shown high rates of psychiatric morbidity amongst the prison population. Between seven and 14 per cent of prisoners have been identified as having a functional psychotic disorder in comparison to 0.4 per cent of the general population (Meltzer et al, 1995).


Antipsychotic medication is an effective treatment for schizophrenia and schizoaffective disorders, and if such medication is not taken patients can be at a high risk of relapse. Whether patients adhere to their treatment is affected by many factors including the medication's effectiveness, side effects, relationships with clinicians and attitudes and beliefs towards medication (Kemp and David, 1995). Poor compliance with antipsychotic medication may lead to re-hospitalisation and high economic costs (Perkins, 2002), and in forensic settings, violent incidents may occur as patients may act on their delusional beliefs or other psychotic symptoms. On prison wings, such symptoms are likely to go undetected and patients may become a danger to themselves and other prisoners and staff.

Main question(s)

What is the prevalence of non-adherence to antipsychotic medication in a population of prisoners diagnosed with schizophrenia or schizoaffective disorder?

How satisfied are such prisoners with their antipsychotic medication and why do some choose not to comply?

What factors are associated with non-compliance (e.g. side effects, poor insight, lack of satisfaction with medication, ongoing psychotic symptoms, financial or material gain from trading the medication)?


Observational cross sectional survey involving interviews and analysis of mental health and medical records. Interviews consist of two separate stages:

  • Self-report and interviewer rated clinical measures and attitudinal scales, to estimate the prevalence of adherence to antipsychotic medication and to determine patients' satisfaction with, and attitudes and beliefs towards their medication.
  • A brief qualitative interview section, using a flexible and responsive topic guide to explore prisoners' past experiences and current views of medication.
    Main outcomes
  • A final research report will be produced in summer 2007 and several papers are in preparation for publication in peer reviewed scientific journals.
    Project team

Project team

Professor Judith Lathlean

Project funder

National Programme, Forensic Mental Health Research and Development

Related research groups

Health Work and Systems

Key Publications


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