Outpatient Requests, Initial Sessions and Attrition

Author/Creator ORCID





Citation of Original Publication

Zisook, S., Hammond, R., Jaffe, K., & Gammon, E. (January 01, 1978). Outpatient requests, initial sessions and attrition. International Journal of Psychiatry in Medicine, 9, 1978-1979.




Treatment attrition in a psychiatric outpatient department was evaluated. Of eighty-two consecutive new patients, fifty-three (65%) showed up for a second appointment while twenty-nine (35%) failed to return. None of the demographic variables or specific categories of patient requests differentiated continuers from non-continuers; nor was attrition significantly influenced by feeling one's problems were understood, symptomatic improvement or receiving the kind of intervention originally desired. Treatment continuers were more likely to have been referred by other hospital clinics or psychiatric care facilities, and more often had previous outpatient contact, but these differences did not reach statistical significance. The only outcome measures significantly related to continuation were: perceiving one's feelings understood in the initial session, feeling satisfied with the interview, and planning to return for the next appointment. Theoretical and practical implications of these findings are discussed.