A Systematic Review of Adherence Strategies for Adult Populations in Speech-Language Pathology Treatment

Rebecca S. Bartlett, Alicia M. Carpenter, Leia K. Chapman

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Purpose: Speech-language pathologists (SLPs) often advise adult patients to complete at-home programs in order to improve outcomes. Despite this wide-spread practice, relatively little is known about treatment adherence. The purposes of this systematic review were to identify adherence strategies and adherence tracking methods used by adult populations that are commonly treated by SLPs (i.e., dysphagia, aphasia, traumatic brain injury, dysphonia, dys-arthria), and to identify the efficacy of these strategies. Method: The systematic review was conducted in accordance with A Measurement Tool to Assess Systematic Reviews guidelines. A comprehensive literature search was performed in three databases (CINAHL, PubMed, and Web of Science). Results: Of the 679 articles found, 18 were selected for analysis. Two thirds of the included articles received the second highest rating on the 5-point JAMA Quality Rating Scheme. Interventions designed to alter treatment adherence included (most to least frequent) computer programs, portable devices/phone apps, alarm reminders, instructional DVDs, check-ins from a clinician/volunteer, and wearable device. Adherence reporting methods included (most to least fre-quent) self-report diaries, computer program/app-aided collection, wearable device, and clinician/volunteer observation. Of the articles that reported practice frequency, 58% found that adherence strategies improved practice frequency as compared to control. Of the articles that reported treatment outcomes, 66% found that adherence strategies were associated with improved treatment outcomes as compared to control. Conclusions: The paucity of publications reviewed suggests that treatment adherence is considerably understudied in speech-language pathology. A clearer understanding of how to improve the design of adherence strategies could yield highly valuable clinical outcomes. Supplemental Material: https://doi.org/10.23641/asha.19393793.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1501-1516
Number of pages16
JournalAmerican Journal of Speech-Language Pathology
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 2022

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Otorhinolaryngology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Linguistics and Language
  • Speech and Hearing


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