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Differences in dropout between diagnoses in child and adolescent mental health services
journal contributionposted on 2008-10-01, 00:00 authored by E Johnson, David MellorDavid Mellor, P Brann
Dropout from treatment is a significant problem in child and adolescent mental health services, and findings regarding the role of possible contributing factors are inconsistent. It is argued that this inconsistency may be the result of the confounding effects of different definitions of dropout, and different dropout rates for different diagnoses. A file review of 520 new cases over a 12-month period in a large Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service in Melbourne, Australia was performed. Information was collected about the intake, parents, family, child, diagnoses and treatment. A significant relationship was found between diagnosis and dropout rate, with clients experiencing family problems or conduct disorder and ADHD being more likely to dropout, and those experiencing negative life events, anxiety disorders or those not having a diagnosis being less likely to dropout. These findings offer potential directions for services to consider specific strategies for retaining their clients. Possible reasons for these findings, methodological issues and future research directions are discussed.