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Psychotherapy dropout: A review of the literature

13 December 2002


Psychotherapy dropout is a pervasive problem affecting approximately 50% of therapy clients. This thesis reviews the literature on therapy dropout and offers specific recommendations and conclusions as to the state of the literature. Client variables associated with dropout are reviewed in their use for prediction of dropout. Single factors proven to significantly effect dropout are racial status, income, and education. Other client variables reach significance only when used in combination; and, these variables have been applied to predict dropout with an accuracy of up to 80%. This work shows that it is possible to prevent dropout though effects have not been impressive. Dropout research in the future will involve use of very brief treatments for those likely to dropout and, focus on application of the client/therapist working alliance.


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