High rates of PTSD treatment dropout: A possible red herring?

Journal Article (Journal Article)

Few studies have examined symptom change among dropouts from posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) treatment. However, dropout is widely considered a negative event needing to be addressed. The present study investigated PTSD and depression symptom change in patients with PTSD who discontinued psychotherapy. Female civilians (n=321) diagnosed with PTSD participated in two randomized clinical trials examining PTSD treatment outcomes. Of those, 53 were identified as dropouts and included in this study. Symptom change was assessed by clinically significant change (CSC) criteria and symptom end-state criteria. Results demonstrated that considerable proportions of participants (35.85-55.56%) displayed significant improvement and/or met good end-state criteria for PTSD and depression. Results also revealed that participants who displayed symptom improvement were younger, attended more treatment sessions, were married or partnered, and had higher annual household income. Although preliminary, these findings contradict belief that treatment dropouts do not display symptom improvement.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Szafranski, DD; Smith, BN; Gros, DF; Resick, PA

Published Date

  • April 2017

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 47 /

Start / End Page

  • 91 - 98

PubMed ID

  • 28117192

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1873-7897

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1016/j.janxdis.2017.01.002


  • eng

Conference Location

  • Netherlands