Objectives. After the declaration of pandemic status in several countries, the continuity of face-to-face visits in psychiatric facilities has been delayed, or even interrupted to reduce viral spread. Little is known about the personality factors associated with medication beliefs and adherence amongst individuals with mental illness during COVID-19 pandemic. This longitudinal study explored whether the big-five personality traits prospectively moderate the effects of medication beliefs on changes in adherence during the pandemic for a group of outpatients with psychosis or bipolar disorder.
Results. Thirteen outpatients undergoing face-to-face follow-up assessments during the pandemic were included (41 observations overall). Participants had stronger concerns about their psychiatric medications rather than beliefs about their necessity, and adherence to medications was generally low. Participants with higher necessity beliefs had a better adherence to medications than those who perceived less their benefits. People with higher conscientiousness and neuroticism traits and more concerned about the medication side effects had a poorer adherence.
These preliminary data suggest the importance of a careful assessment of the adherence to medications amongst people with psychosis/bipolar disorder during the pandemic. Interventions aimed to improve adherence might focus on patients’ medication beliefs and their conscientiousness and neuroticism personality traits.