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A Journal on Internal Medicine and Pharmacology

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Gazzetta Medica Italiana Archivio per le Scienze Mediche 2006 June;165(3):115-27

language: Italian

Drop out and continuity in adolescent psychotherapy followed at a National Health Service centre

Finicelli C.

Dipartimento ASSI, ASL Provincia di Milano N° 1


Aim. A survey on the phenomenon of treatment drop-out versus the phenomenon of continuity in individual psychotherapies followed by adolescents at the National Health Service. A survey on the number of sessions and treatment duration defined in literature as meaningful for the purposes of improvement.
Methods. Among patients aged 13 to 24, who were in contact for the first time with the service in the period 01.01.2002 to 30.06.2004, those who dropped out of the treatment within the first 25 sessions and those who followed 26 or more of them were singled out. For each patient belonging to the sample the number of sessions attended was identified thanks to the medical record on file for the period being considered, together with the treatment duration in months. Those who continued were split into two groups: one was made up of those who attended between 26 and 57 sessions, the other by patients who attended 58 or more sessions.
Results. The identified sample was made up of 34 adolescents (Females 52.9%; Age Range 13.2- 24.1). 29.4% of the sample dropped out of the treatment in the first 25 sessions, those who went on for at least 26 - mainly Females (38.2 %) account for the remaining 70.6 %.
Around one third of those who continued (32.4%) showed high duration and regularity in treatment time, as they attended 58 or more sessions in the period considered (Average 78.5; Average duration 26.3 months; Duration Range 21-30 months).
Conclusion. Usefulness of a psychotherapeutic planning that considers the effects due to interventions, the decision-making support in clinical practice, the use of assessment tools that suit the characteristics shown of the different phases of the psychotherapeutic process.

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