Predictors of outcome of inpatient treatment based on manualized cognitive–behavioural therapy (CBT) were examined for 147 adolescents with anxious-depressed school absenteeism assessed at discharge and at 2 months after the end of treatment. Outcome measures were regular school attendance and a wide variety of mental health problems rated by adolescents and parents. Socio-demographic data, clinical ratings/diagnosis and adolescent-reported and parent-reported mental health problems were examined as predictors. Regression analyses indicated that none of the variables were able to predict regular school attendance in a clinically relevant way. Adolescent-reported and parent-reported mental health problems at intake predicted these symptoms at both discharge and follow-up (R2 between 0.31 and 0.61). Copyright © 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
Key Practitioner Message
- When treating anxious-depressed adolescents with chronic school absenteeism in an inpatient setting using CBT, socio-demographic data, clinical ratings, diagnosis or self-reported and parent-reported mental health problems cannot predict treatment outcomes on school absenteeism.
- Even severely impaired adolescents do not necessarily have the worst outcome in terms of high school absence rates.
- Severity of self-reported and parent-reported mental health problems at the start of inpatient treatment using CBT best predict these symptoms at discharge and at 2 months after the end of inpatient treatment.