Psychology and Psychotherapy: Theory, Research and Practice

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Volume 59 Issue 2 (June 1986), Pages 113-203

Attrition from an out‐patient psychology clinic (pages 181-186)

Patient attrition is a considerable problem in many health care settings. This study examined attrition among out‐patients referred to a clinical psychologist. Forty per cent of all referrals dropped out and different factors were associated with dropping out at different times. Patients who engaged into treatment before dropping out had less initial pathology and made some improvement. Early drop‐outs were characterized by lower social class and unemployment. These non‐engagers were more likely to have been sent by referring agents who had relatively poorer contact with the psychologist. Further investigation of factors involved in the referral process might lead to practical ways of reducing the large amount of clinical time which is lost because of attrition.

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