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The Cost-Effectiveness of Short-Term and Long-Term Psychotherapy in the Treatment of Depressive and Anxiety Disorders During a 5-Year Follow-Up

Julkaistu 2.11.2015


Both short-term and long-term psychotherapies are used extensively in treating different mental disorders, but there have been practically no attempts to compare their cost-effectiveness. The aim of this study, which is part of the Helsinki Psychotherapy Study, is to assess the cost-effectiveness of two short-term therapies compared to that of a long-term therapy. In this study 326 outpatients suffering from mood or anxiety disorder were randomized to solution-focused therapy (SFT), short-term psychodynamic psychotherapy (SPP) or to long-term psychodynamic psychotherapy (LPP). Psychiatric symptoms and working ability were assessed at baseline and then 4-9 times during a 5-year follow-up using eight widely used measures including e.g. Beck Depression Inventory (BDI), Hamilton Depression Rating Scale (HDRS), Symptom Check List, anxiety scale (SCL-90-Anx), Hamilton Anxiety Rating Scale (HARS), Symptom Check List, Global Severity Index (SCL-90-GSI), and the Work-subscale (SAS-Work) of the Social Adjustment Scale (SAS-SR). Both direct and indirect costs were measured. During the 5-year follow-up period statistically significant improvements were observed in all health indicators in all therapy groups. At first the recovery was faster in the short-term therapy groups than in the LPP group, but taking the whole follow-up period into account, the effectiveness of the LPP was somewhat greater than that of the short-term therapies. Especially the direct costs were, however, much higher in the LPP group than in the short-term therapy groups. Thus the long-term therapy can hardly be regarded as cost-effective compared to short-term therapies when patients are randomized to the therapy groups.

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Timo Maljanen, Paul Knekt, Olavi Lindfors, Esa Virtala, Päivi Tillman, Tommi Härkänen

Lisätietoja julkaisusta

  • Vertaisarvioitu: kyllä.
  • Avoin saatavuus: ei.
  • Koko viite: Maljanen, T., Knekt, P., Lindfors, O., Virtala, E., Tillman, P., Härkänen, T., & Helsinki Psychotherapy Study Group (2016). The cost-effectiveness of short-term and long-term psychotherapy in the treatment of depressive and anxiety disorders during a 5-year follow-up. Journal of affective disorders, 190, 254–263.

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