Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology

, Volume 41, Issue 2, pp 140–147 | Cite as

Helping alliance and early dropout from psychiatric out-patient care

The influence of patient factors
  • Håkan JohanssonEmail author
  • Mona Eklund
Original Paper



The study examined client factors of relevance in the establishment of helping alliance and in the prediction of dropout from a routine psychiatric setting admitting a variety of diagnoses and staffed with a multiprofessional team.


Newly admitted patients (n=122) and staff completed questionnaires regarding helping alliance, and the patients also completed questionnaires regarding motivation, symptoms and interpersonal problems. The patients were also diagnosed according to ICD-10 and were followed up concerning early dropout.


Several variables correlated with helping alliance, and multivariate analyses showed that cold/distant factor, motivation and interpersonal sensitivity factor were the most important factors in establishing helping alliance. Moreover, it was the alliance as perceived by the patients (and not by the staff) that proved to be the most essential variable. A logistic regression analysis showed that early dropout was predicted by low helping alliance, low age and cold/distant factor.


The most important client factors for establishing helping alliance and for predicting early dropout seem to be those relevant to interpersonal processes. Furthermore, the therapists'/staff's responsiveness to these client factors seems to be of decisive importance.

Key words

helping alliance working alliance therapeutic alliance therapeutic relationship psychiatry psychotherapy psychiatric care patient factors dropout 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Division of PsychiatryLund University HospitalEslövSweden
  2. 2.Dept. of PsychologyLund UniversityLundSweden
  3. 3.Dept. of Health Sciences, Division of Occupational TherapyLund UniversityLundSweden

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