Introduction: In addition to specific therapeutic effects, cognitive-behavioural treatment of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) in a group setting may offer considerable economic advantages. This explorative study evaluates the effectiveness of a standardized cognitive-behavioural short-term group therapy. In order to provide criteria for a differentiated assignment to different treatments and to adjust treatment programmes for patients at risk for treatment failure, predictors for therapy outcome were investigated. Patients and Methods: 45 OCD patients who completed a 10-session (150 min each) symptom-focused outpatient cognitive-behavioural group therapy were examined before and after treatment. Results: The group therapy significantly improved average ratings of obsessive-compulsive symptoms and general psychological distress. Defining therapy response as a 35% decline of the Yale-Brown Obsessive Compulsive Scale total score, 31% of the patients could benefit from treatment. 'Clinically significant' symptom reduction was achieved by only 16% of the patients. The predictor analysis suggests that even patients with complex disorders reduce their symptoms significantly during group treatment. Treatment response was neither influenced by initial symptom severity, duration of illness and depressive symptoms nor by level of education. Only dependent personality traits were identified as risk factors for negative treatment outcome. Conclusions: The group programme has proven to be as effective for a broad spectrum of OCD patients as other group concepts described in the literature. The rather low response rates suggest that a short group intervention may not be equivalent to long-term individual cognitive-behavioural therapy. Short-term group therapy could possibly rather be used as a specific preparation for individual cognitive-behavioural therapy.
- Dependent personality
- Group therapy
- Obsessive-compulsive disorder
- Predictors of therapy outcome