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Tijdschrift voor Psychiatrie 55 (2013) 6, 395 - 404

New research

Which characteristics of adolescents with behavioural problems are associated with the completion of residential treatment

L. van den Reijen, H. Nijman, B. Orobio de Castro, R. Schmitz

background Many adolescents who have a combination of psychiatric disorders and behavioural problems fail to complete their course of treatment and therefore do not get the treatment they need.
aim To investigate whether gender and the severity of symptoms at the start of treatment can predict whether patients will complete their course of treatment.
method By means of questionnaires (scl-90, ysr and cbcl) we attempted to find out if the gender and symptoms of 127 male adolescent patients beginning their treatment in a psychiatric institution could ‘predict’ whether the patients would complete their treatment or terminate it prematurely. For the purpose of our research, specific definitions of the terms drop out, push out and treatment success were formulated.
results The inter rater reliability of the definitions of drop out and treatment success ranged from adequate to good, whereas the reliability of the definition of push out was only moderate.
conclusion The questionnaire was not able to predict accurately whether patients would complete their treatment. Apparently, adolescent males whose treatment was predicted to have a more favourable outcome had obtained higher scores on the scl-90 Hostility subscale at the beginning of treatment and more girls than boys were judged to have improved.

keywords adolescents, behavioural problems, drop out, predictions, push out, treatment success