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Effectiveness of dialectical behavior therapy for diverse diagnostic categories

1 January 2016


Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) may be an effective treatment across diverse diagnostic categories. The objective of this study is to summarize and analyze the research on the application of DBT for a diverse set of presenting problems using meta-analytic techniques. A resource summarizing and evaluating the research concerning DBT’s effectiveness across a broad range of diagnostic groups will benefit clinicians. Fifty studies meeting inclusion criteria were identified. There was a significant effect of DBT compared with active control groups on quality of life. Within group effects of DBT were significant across a range of outcomes. Dropout and treatment format each moderated the within group effect of DBT on distress. Diagnosis targeted moderated the within group effect of DBT on depression symptoms. The results show that DBT can be applied to an array of diagnostic categories and produces larger effects on quality of life than other active interventions. It can be effective when delivered in group-only format as well as other formats. Additional randomized controlled trials will increase the quality and breadth of the evidence for DBT’s effectiveness.


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