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Can Low-Cost Strategies Improve Attendance Rates in Brief Psychological Therapy? Double-Blind Randomized Controlled Trial

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


  • Jaime Delgadillo
  • Omar Moreea
  • Elizabeth Murphy
  • Shehzad Ali
  • Joshua K Swift


Publication details

JournalBritish journal of clinical psychology
DatePublished - 1 Oct 2015
Original languageEnglish


OBJECTIVES: To assess if telephone text message appointment reminders and orientation leaflets can increase the proportion of patients who attend brief interventions after being assessed as suitable for guided self-help following cognitive behavioral therapy principles.

METHOD: Attendance was operationally defined as having accessed at least 1 therapy appointment. A secondary outcome was the proportion of attenders who completed or dropped out of therapy. After initial assessment, 254 patients with depression and anxiety disorders were randomly assigned to 1 of 3 groups: (a) usual waitlist control, (b) leaflet, (c) leaflet plus text message. Differences in the proportions of patients who started and completed therapy across groups were assessed using chi-square and logistic regression analyses.

RESULTS: Overall, 63% of patients in this sample attended therapy. Between-group differences were not significant for attendance, x(2) (2) = 3.94, p = .14, or completion rates, x(2) (2) = 2.98, p = .23. These results were not confounded by demographic or clinical characteristics.

CONCLUSIONS: Low-cost strategies appear to make no significant difference to therapy attendance and completion rates.

Bibliographical note

© 2015 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

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