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August 1967

Prediction of Improvement in Group Therapy: An Exploratory Study

Author Affiliations

Palo Alto, Calif
From the Department of Psychiatry, School of Medicine, Stanford University, Palo Alto, Calif.

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1967;17(2):159-168. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1967.01730260031005

TIME and again group therapy outcome has proven to be a quagmire for clinical researchers. Reviews of evaluation studies have served primarily to underscore the pitfalls involved, which include not only all those encountered in individual therapy evaluation but several idiosyncratic to group therapy.1-3 Satisfactory outcome measures have not been developed; numerous studies have indicated that many prepost psychometric tests, of value in individual therapy outcome studies, do not accurately reflect the changes undergone by group therapy patients.4,5 Often improvement in the group (group maturation, increased cohesiveness) or improvement of the patient's group behavior has been erroneously equated with patient improvement.6 Clinical studies in which the group therapist evaluates the outcome of his own patients suffer from observer bias.

Another obstacle is the high attrition rate in group therapy, which has forced many investigators into the untenable position of conducting short-term follow-up