Patient’s Outcome Expectancies and Treatment Outcome Influence of Patient’s Outcome Expectancies on Symptom Improvement and Drop-out in Interpersonal Psychotherapy and Cognitive Therapy for adult depression


  • C.E. Verhagen



This study aims to explore the influence of expectations on treatment outcome of depressed patients following Interpersonal Psychotherapy or Cognitive Therapy. Patients’ baseline outcome expectations might influence post-treatment symptom improvement and dropout during treatment. Outcome expectations are hypothesized to influence the level of symptom improvement and the drop-out risk. The current study is based on data collected in a large RCT in which participants are assigned to either Cognitive Psychotherapy (N=76) or Interpersonal Psychotherapy (N=75) in order to be treated for a primary depressive episode. The Outcome Expectations Questionnaire was conducted at baseline, followed by a 7 months intervention phase. The primary outcome measurement is symptom improvement, which is the difference in symptoms at 7 months and at baseline. The second outcome measurement, drop-out, is the percentage participants that stop the treatment after following less than 12 session, while still having complains. The relationship between outcome expectations and symptom improvement and between outcome expectations and drop-out were analyzed separately. Contradictory to the hypothesis, the data did not show a significant relationship between outcome expectations and symptom improvement or drop-out. These findings implicate that patients with low outcome expectations have the same symptom improvement and risk to drop-out of the treatment as patients with high expectations. Other studies support this findings. However, more well-designed major studies are needed in order to gather more evidence-based information on the influence of outcome expectations on treatment outcome.


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