Therapist effects and the impacts of therapy nonattendance

Henry Xiao, Jeffrey A. Hayes, Louis G. Castonguay, Andrew A. McAleavey, Benjamin D. Locke

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


Although dropout from psychotherapy has received substantial attention, the impacts of nonattendance on client outcome across a course of psychotherapy have not been well researched. All in-person psychotherapy treatments require clients to actually attend sessions to generate positive symptomatic results, and missed sessions have at least a time and financial cost. Furthermore, it is plausible that therapist differences exist for client attendance rates. The present study examined impacts of nonattendance, particularly early in a course of treatment, comparing the effects of canceled and no-showed appointments on overall symptom reduction and rate of change while accounting for therapist effects. Using multilevel hierarchical regression, the impact of nonattendance on symptom reduction and rate of change was modeled on 5,253 clients (67.2% female, 72.3% white) across 83 therapists gathered from a practice research network. Results suggested that no-shows, but not cancellations, had negative impacts on the magnitude and rate of symptom change, with larger effects when occurring before the third session. Therapist effects on attendance also were identified; therapists varied greatly on nonattendance percentages of their clients after the third attended session.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)58-65
Number of pages8
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 1 2017

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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