Patient attrition in a comparative outcome study of depression. A follow-up report

Anne D. Simons, Jeffret L. Levine, Patrick J. Lustman, George E. Murphy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

49 Scopus citations


Eighty-seven moderately to severely depressed psychiatric outpatients were randomly assigned to 12 weeks of cognitive therapy (n = 24), pharmacotherapy (n =24), cognitive therapy plus pharmacotherapy (n = 22) or cognitive therapy plus active placebo (n = 17). Seventy patients completed the treatment protocol; 17 dropped out before the end of the treatment period. Completers and dropouts did not differ at pretreatment on demographic variables, measures of depression, cognitive functioning or social adjustment. Sixteen of the 17 patients who dropped out were followed up and interviewed to assess their clinical status and reasons for discontinuing treatment. Neither group remained depressed at follow-up. Practical matters and issues related to the type of treatment received seemed to contribute most to patient's decision to drop out. Patients assigned to the combination therapies were more likely to complete the research protocol than those assigned to single treatment modalities. These findings are discussed in terms of their implications for clinical practice and outcome research.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)163-173
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of affective disorders
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 1984


  • Cognitive therapy - Depression - Follow-up report - Patient attrition - Pharmacotherapy


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