Adherence to continuous positive airway pressure in existing users: self-efficacy enhances the association between continuous positive airway pressure and adherence

Joseph M. Dzierzewski, Douglas Wallace, William K. Wohlgemuth

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

14 Scopus citations


Study Objectives: Obstructive sleep apnea-hypopnea syndrome (OSAHS) is a common sleep disorder associated with a myriad of sequelae. OSAHS is effectively treated with continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) therapy. However, fewer than 50% of patients are compliant with their CPAP therapy prescriptions. The current study sought to explore an integrated, biopsychological approach to CPAP adherence among experienced CPAP users. Methods: We performed a retrospective, cross-sectional analysis of a cohort of veterans with a diagnosis of OSAHS (n = 191) who were prescribed CPAP therapy and returned for adherence download at the Miami VA Sleep Clinic. The relationships between biomedical characteristics (e.g., CPAP pressure, selfreported sleepiness, and change in sleep efficiency) and psychological factors (e.g., self-efficacy beliefs and psychological diagnoses) and objectively measured CPAP use were examined to determine whether psychological factors moderated the relationships between biomedical characteristics and CPAP adherence. Results: Hierarchical regression analyses predicting CPAP adherence (adjusting for time since CPAP prescription, age, education, prescribed CPAP pressure, daytime sleepiness, changes in sleep efficiency with CPAP, and psychiatric conditions) revealed the following: (1) CPAP self-efficacy and CPAP pressure were positively related to adherence, and (2) CPAP self-efficacy moderates the relationship between CPAP pressure and CPAP adherence. Conclusions: There was no relationship between CPAP pressure and adherence in individuals with low self-efficacy beliefs. However, for individuals with high self-efficacy beliefs, there was a significant positive relationship between CPAP pressure and adherence. Self-efficacy beliefs appear to be a prime target for focused interventions aimed at improving CPAP adherence among those individuals with higher pressure prescriptions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)169-176
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Clinical Sleep Medicine
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2016



  • Adherence
  • Continuous positive airway pressure
  • Cpap
  • Moderation
  • Self-efficacy
  • Sleep apnea

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
  • Neurology

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