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October 2021

Reconsidering ''between-group psychotherapy outcome research and basic science'': Applications to child and adolescent psychotherapy outcome research

Journal/Book: J Clin Psychol. 1999; 55: 605 Third Ave, New York, NY 10158-0012, USA. John Wiley & Sons Inc. 181-190.

Abstract: Borkovec and Miranda (1996) proposed that the purpose of controlled outcome studies is to increase our understanding of the change mechanisms associated with psychotherapy, and they suggested several ways that between-group outcome research establishes cause-and-effect relationships. Child psychotherapy outcome research presents special challenges for the issues raised by Borkovec and Miranda and four of these are discussed herein: (a) the multitude of influences on children and adolescents that affect their functioning and therapy outcomes, (b) accurately defining the referral problem, (c) identifying appropriate outcome measures and reliable informants of change in child and adolescent treatment, and (d) considering developmental processes that influence therapeutic effectiveness. It is suggested that transporting clinical trials methods to natural settings is of limited value in identifying cause-and-effect relationships, and an alternative methodology is proposed for advancing child therapy outcome research. This approach advocates developing a profile of the underlying causes that predict psychopathology and therapy outcome for individual children in real clinical settings and then aggregating the data for youth with similar profiles and outcomes. These data can then be used to generate hypotheses about what interventions work for specific children, and investigators can employ prospective studies of therapy outcome for youth with similar profiles.

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