Effect of Matching Therapists to Patients vs Assignment as Usual on Adult Psychotherapy Outcomes

A Randomized Clinical Trial

JAMA Psychiatry June 9, 2021

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Key Points

Question Can assigning patients to therapists with empirically determined strengths in treating the patients’ specific mental health problem(s) (ie, measurement-based matching) improve the outcomes of naturalistic psychotherapy compared with case assignment as usual?

Findings In this 2-arm, double-blind randomized clinical trial including 48 therapists and 218 outpatients, measurement-based matching promoted significantly greater reductions in patients’ general symptomatic and functional impairment, global psychological distress, and domain-specific impairment on patients’ most elevated presenting problem over 16 weeks postintake.

Meaning In this study, mental health care was enhanced by prospectively assigning patients to empirically good-fitting therapists, which requires minimal disruptions within a mental health care system.

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2021 Constantino et al. _JAMA Psychiatry
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