Past Issues

The Effectiveness and Attrition of Brief Group Cognitive Behavior Therapy for Outpatients with Panic Disorder: A Retrospective Study

Chin-Chen Wen, Hsiao-Wen Su, Meei-Ju Lin, Nai-Yen Wang

Objectives: In this study, the authors did a retrospective study to examine effectiveness and attrition of brief group cognitive behavior therapy (CBT) for panic disorder (PD) routinely practiced in the psychiatric outpatient clinic at a general hospital. Methods: A total of 53 patients (37 females and 16 males, with mean age of 44.72 years) had accepted the 8-weekly 1.5 hour group CBT separately during 2005-2010. The data of effectiveness and dropout variables were reviewed from documents of patients’ medical and group records as well as their psychological measures. Results: The brief group CBT was found to have significant improvements in patients’ disaster belief and anxiety level at the end of treatment (p < 0.01), and to decrease their severity of panic attacks (p < 0.01), agoraphobic avoidance (p < 0.01), fear of body sensation (p < 0.05), and depression symptoms (p < 0.05) at 6-month follow-up. But high attrition rate of 45.3% was found. The signifi cant negative predictor of attrition was recent panic attacks recorded before the fi rst group sessions (p < 0.05). Recent panic attacks motivated them to complete group sessions. Reasons of their discontinuing treatment included practice problems and treatment being not needed. Conclusion: These study results suggest the brief group CBT for PD is an effective and feasible treatment in the psychiatric outpatient clinic. Strategies to prevent and to reduce attrition, such as setting up recruitment criteria, doing orientation interview, or adapting alternative modes of delivering CBT should be considered in the future.
Key Word attrition, cognitive behavior therapy, effectiveness of treatment, panic disorder
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