Defense Date


Graduation Date

Spring 2004


Immediate Access

Submission Type


Degree Name



Clinical Psychology


McAnulty College and Graduate School of Liberal Arts

Committee Chair

Michael Sipiora

Committee Member

Daniel Burston

Committee Member

Leswin Laubscher


medication, medication compliance, medication-taking, prescribing medication, prescription


The purpose of this investigation was to describe the lived experience of being confronted with the prospect of taking medications for a psychological complaint, namely a depressive disorder. Descriptions of such experiences were obtained from adult participants and were analyzed qualitatively in order to explicate the themes and meanings that were most significant to forming the experience as such.

The findings of this study were dialogued with literature on medication taking, the doctor-patient relationship, dialogic psychology and the construction of the self, and theories of willing, motivation and identity. This analysis contributes to the current literature by illuminating the lived significance of confronting the prospect of taking medication as it related to the experiences of these subjects relations with themselves, other people, and the worlds around them. The implications of these findings with regard to prescribing medication were also discussed.

Data was organized into units of significant meaning and was then rendered into a situated structure for each individual subject. A general structure that encompassed all three subjects was developed and as such revealed the phenomenon of appropriating the prospect of taking medication as grounded in the referential totality of the world of the person who is confronted with this possibility. Concretely, this means that one who is confronted with this possibility engages this prospect from out of the contexts of one's relatedness to others, of the projects of one's life, of one's understandings of who one is, and of the history, culture and society in which one finds oneself rooted. Having to confront this prospect brought these subjects into contact with their very senses of identity whether they were able to positively appropriate this possibility or not.