Dropout from psychotherapy is common and can have negative effects for patients, providers, and researchers. A better understanding of when and why patients stop treatment early, as well as actionable factors contributing to dropout, has the potential to prevent it. Here, we examined dropout from a large randomized controlled trial of transdiagnostic versus single-diagnosis cognitive-behavioral treatment (CBT) for patients with anxiety disorders (n = 179; Barlow et al., 2017). We aimed to characterize the timing of and reasons for dropout and test whether participants who dropped out had different symptom trajectories than those who completed treatment. Results indicated that overall, the greatest risk of dropout was prior to the first treatment session. In single-diagnosis CBT, dropout risk was particularly elevated before the first session and after other early sessions, whereas in transdiagnostic CBT, dropout risk was low and stable before and during treatment. Participants most often dropped out due to failure to comply with study procedures or dissatisfaction with or desiring alternative treatment. Results from multilevel models showed that trajectories of anxiety symptoms did not significantly differ between dropouts and completers. These findings suggest that there may be specific time windows for targeted and timely interventions to prevent dropout from CBT.
|Number of pages||13|
|State||Published - Nov 2021|
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
Dr. Farchione receives royalties from Oxford University Press for one of the treatment manuals included in this study. Grant monies for various projects come from the National Institute of Alcohol and Alcohol Abuse and the John Templeton Foundation. Dr. Barlow receives royalties from Oxford University Press (which includes royalties for all five treatment manuals included in this study), Guilford Publications Inc., Cengage Learning, and Pearson Publishing. Grant monies for various projects including this one come from the National Institute of Mental Health, the National Institute of Alcohol and Alcohol Abuse, the Templeton Foundation, and Colciencias (Government of Columbia Initiative for Science, Technology, and Health Innovation). Consulting and honoraria during the past several years have come from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, the Foundation for Informed Medical Decision Making, the Department of Defense, the Renfrew Center, the Chinese University of Hong Kong, Universidad Católica de Santa Maria (Arequipa, Peru), New Zealand Psychological Association, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Mayo Clinic, and various American Universities and Institutes.
This study was funded by grant R01 MH090053 from the National Institutes of Health.
- cognitive-behavioral therapy
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Clinical Psychology