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February 1960

The Measurement of Outcome in Psychotherapy: A Study in Method

Author Affiliations

Los Angeles
Assistant Professor of Psychiatry, University of California at Los Angeles School of Medicine.

AMA Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1960;2(2):142-146. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1960.03590080018004

This paper describes the derivation of a simple measure of therapeutic outcome which can be used routinely in a psychiatric unit. A number of workers have discussed the many problems which confront the investigator in this area.1,3,10,11 Of the possible approaches to such measurement, rating methods are perhaps the most commonly used.4,5,8,9,12,14

Method  Subjects.—The subjects were all adults treated between Oct. 1, 1957, and June 30, 1958, at either the inpatient or the outpatient unit of the Department of Psychiatry, University of California Medical Center, Los Angeles. All the necessary data were available for 45 such patients, and they constitute the sample. Seventy-six per cent of this group were women. Three-fourths of the subjects were between 20 and 39 years old, although the total age range was 18 through 55. In 49% the disorders were diagnosed as psychoneurotic disorders, in 29% as personality disorders,and in 4% as psychotic disorders. The remaining patients were distributed among the other diagnostic classifications.

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