International Journal of Psychology and Psychological Therapy

Volume 3 Num. 1 - June 2003


Understanding Prior Dropout in Psychotherapy [Comprensi?n del Abandono Previo en Psicoterapia]

Volume 3 Num. 1 - June 2003 - Pages 81-90


C?lia Sales


Little is known about clients who, although in need of a treatment and having the opportunity to take treatment, do not start it. To explore this topic, we conducted a retrospective study comparing 37 prior dropouts with 28 clients who underwent treatment (family therapy). Results showed that prior dropout clients presented symptoms for a longer period, attended previous family therapy and previous psychiatric urgency; while clients with previous psychiatric internment presented a strong tendency not to dropout. The findings suggest that previous experiences with specific mental health assistance influence the engagement in future treatments. Recommendations are made for the use of retrospective studies based on clinical records of clients, in order to detect predicting variables of prior dropout and avoid nonresponse problems at the time of design prevention strategies.

Key words:

dropout, family therapy, prevention strategies, retrospective studies

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