Cardiff University | Prifysgol Caerdydd ORCA
Online Research @ Cardiff 
WelshClear Cookie - decide language by browser settings

Dropout from psychological therapies for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in adults: systematic review and meta-analysis

Lewis, Catrin ORCID:, Roberts, Neil, Gibson, Samuel and Bisson, Jonathan ORCID: 2020. Dropout from psychological therapies for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in adults: systematic review and meta-analysis. European Journal of Psychotraumatology 11 (1) , 1709709. 10.1080/20008198.2019.1709709

[thumbnail of Lewisetal2019_Dropout_Review_EJPT_FInal31Oct2019.docx.doc.pdf]
PDF - Accepted Post-Print Version
Download (625kB) | Preview


Background: Despite the established efficacy of psychological therapies for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) there has been little systematic exploration of dropout rates. Objective: To ascertain rates of dropout across different modalities of psychological therapy for PTSD and to explore potential sources of heterogeneity. Method: A systematic review of dropout rates from randomized controlled trials (RCTs) of psychological therapies was conducted. The pooled rate of dropout from psychological therapies was estimated and reasons for heterogeneity explored using meta-regression. Results:: The pooled rate of dropout from RCTs of psychological therapies for PTSD was 16% (95% CI 14–18%). There was evidence of substantial heterogeneity across studies. We found evidence that psychological therapies with a trauma-focus were significantly associated with greater dropout. There was no evidence of greater dropout from therapies delivered in a group format; from studies that recruited participants from clinical services rather than via advertisements; that included only military personnel/veterans; that were limited to participants traumatized by sexual traumas; that included a higher proportion of female participants; or from studies with a lower proportion of participants who were university educated. Conclusions: Dropout rates from recommended psychological therapies for PTSD are high and this appears to be particularly true of interventions with a trauma focus. There is a need to further explore the reasons for dropout and to look at ways of increasing treatment retention.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Medicine
Neuroscience and Mental Health Research Institute (NMHRI)
Publisher: Taylor & Francis
ISSN: 2000-8066
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 8 November 2019
Date of Acceptance: 29 October 2019
Last Modified: 12 Nov 2023 19:40

Citation Data

Cited 156 times in Scopus. View in Scopus. Powered By Scopus® Data

Actions (repository staff only)

Edit Item Edit Item


Downloads per month over past year

View more statistics