Are psychotherapies with more dropouts less effective?


Psychotherapy dropout is often regarded as an indicator of treatment failure; however, evidence of a relationship between dropout and outcome has not been well established. The current research consisted of three meta-analytic studies, the results of which found (a) individuals who dropped out began treatment more distressed than those who completed therapy, (b) individuals who dropped out of therapy were more distressed at posttreatment than individuals who completed therapy, and (c) treatments with higher rates of dropout were also less effective for the treatment completers. Dropout may particularly signal poor outcomes for shorter treatments. The continued ambiguity in the meaning of dropout is discussed as well as the promising potential for future research in the area of dropout as it relates to outcome.

Publication Title

Psychotherapy Research