Prediction Of Rejection Of, Defection From, And Continuance In Child Psychotherapy

Date of Award




Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)


Purpose. The purpose of the present study was to determine whether Jerome Frank's (1961) theoretical construct of demoralization, as measured by four subscales of the Millon Behavioral Health Inventory (MBHI) and/or Scales PERI 1 to PERI 8 of the Demoralization Screening Scale of the Psychiatric Epidemiology Research Interview (PERI), would be useful in distinguishing child psychotherapy rejectors, defectors, and remainers. Demographic variables were also examined in an attempt to correctly classify members of the three groups.Procedures. Subjects for the study were 138 parent/applicants for child psychotherapy services at the Children's Psychiatric Center, Inc., Miami, Florida. They were divided into three equal groups, REJECTOR, DEFECTOR, and REMAINER. The first 28 subjects to each group constituted the original sample. All twenty-eight variables under investigation were entered into a discriminant function analysis. Those derived functions that produced the greatest statistical discrimination between the groups were applied to a second, validation, sample to determine whether those functions were at least equal in then correctly classifying subjects from the validation sample into each of the three groups.Findings. The results of the discriminant function analyses of the original sample provided for an amount of correct classification somewhat better than chance for some, but not all, of the groups depending on which set of variables was utilized in a particular analysis. However, the classification results of the analyses of the application of the derived functions to the validation sample were of decreasing magnitude, indicating that the results of the analyses of the original sample were not stable nor applicable to a second sample.Conclusions. (1) The theoretical construct of demoralization, based on the measures used to evaluate it in the present study, is not useful in the prediction or classification of rejectors of, defectors from, or continuers in child psychotherapy. (2) Differences in socioeconomic status or differences on related demographic measures are not a determinant of continuance or discontinuance in child psychotherapy.


Psychology, Clinical

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