Factors associated with attrition from a randomized controlled trial of meaning-centered group psychotherapy for patients with advanced cancer.
ABSTRACT OBJECTIVE: The generalizability of palliative care intervention research is often limited by high rates of study attrition. This study examined factors associated with attrition from a randomized controlled trial comparing meaning-centered group psychotherapy (MCGP), an intervention designed to help advanced cancer patients sustain or enhance their sense of meaning to the supportive group psychotherapy (SGP), a standardized support group. METHODS: Patients with advanced solid tumor cancers (n = 153) were randomized to eight sessions of either the MCGP or SGP. They completed assessments of psychosocial, spiritual, and physical well-being pretreatment, midtreatment, and 2 months post-treatment. Attrition was assessed in terms of the percent of participants who failed to complete these assessments, and demographic, psychiatric, medical, and study-related correlates of attrition were examined for the participants in each of these categories. RESULTS: The rates of attrition at these time points were 28.1%, 17.7%, and 11.1%, respectively; 43.1% of the participants (66 of 153) completed the entire study. The most common reason for dropout was patients feeling too ill. Attrition rates did not vary significantly between study arms. The participants who dropped out pretreatment reported less financial concerns than post-treatment dropouts, and the participants who dropped out of the study midtreatment had poorer physical health than treatment completers. There were no other significant associations between attrition and any demographic, medical, psychiatric, or study-related variables. CONCLUSIONS: These findings highlight the challenge of maintaining advanced cancer patients in longitudinal research and suggest the need to consider alternative approaches (e.g., telemedicine) for patients who might benefit from group interventions but are too ill to travel. Copyright © 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
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ABSTRACT: Patient dropout (attrition) can bias and threaten validity of databank-based studies. Although there are several databanks of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) in operation, this phenomenon has not been well studied. We studied the attrition patterns of patients with RA in 11 long-running databanks where patients were followed using semiannual Health Assessment Questionnaires. Attrition rates were calculated as the proportion of living patients who were in active followup at the cutoff date. Mantel-Haenszel methods and Weibull regression were used to model the relationship between attrition and age, sex, race, education, disease duration, functional disability, and other characteristics. Overall, 6346 patients with RA were recruited into the study cohorts and followed for 32,823 person-years with 65,649 observations. The crude attrition rate was 3.8% per cycle. Rates were lowest in community-based databanks. Smaller size of the centers, inner-city location, and university clinic settings were associated with worse attrition. In multivariable analyses, younger age, lower levels of education, and non-Caucasian race predicted attrition. Level of disability and disease duration were not associated with attrition. Conclusion. In terms of person-years of followup and observation-points, this may be the largest study on attrition to date. While it is possible to have very high overall retention rates, certain types of databanks (smaller, inner-city-based, and university-based) are more likely to be biased due to selective retention of older, more educated Caucasian patients.The Journal of Rheumatology 08/2004; 31(7):1320-6. · 3.26 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Participant attrition from randomized controlled trials reduces the statistical power of the study and can potentially introduce bias. Early identification of potential causes of attrition can help reduce patient attrition. We performed secondary analyses of two trials involving cancer patients. To identify predictors of attrition during two early phases, i.e., from consent to screening (Phase-1), and from screening to intake interview (Phase-2) in two clinical trials. Cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy were asked to enroll in one of two clinical trials. In each trial the benefits of a cognitive behavioral intervention were compared with a psycho-educational intervention to assist patients to manage cancer and treatment-related symptoms. Following consent patients were screened for their symptoms' severity to determine their eligibility. Of the 885 consenters 785 completed screening and of the 782 eligible for participation, 713 completed intake interview. In the first phase, longer delays between consent and first contact attempt, lower levels of patient education, minority race, and prolonged duration of screening increased the likelihood of dropping out with a significantly stronger effect on minorities than white patients. In the second phase, low education, being a minority, longer screening delays, and impact of symptom severity on enjoyment of life significantly increased probability of attrition. Participant reported causes of attrition were not modeled; however, exclusion of patients who died during the time period of this research meant that most patients leaving the study made a conscious decision to do so. To assure preservation of external validity, the time between consent and randomization into the arms of a trial must be held to a minimum. Delays between contacts and run in time, that may include screening patients to assure they will benefit from a trial, must be balanced against rates of attrition. Compressing intervals between contacts is particularly important to retain minorities.Clinical Trials 02/2008; 5(4):328-35. · 2.20 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Life stress was studied in relation to postrecovery attrition, symptom course, and recurrence of depression over 3 years. Participants were 67 individuals with recurrent depression who had responded to treatment. Life stress was assessed for the prior 12 weeks at acute treatment entry (T1), initial recovery (T2), and after 17 weeks of sustained recovery (T3). Severe life events at T1 predicted greater attrition, a more favorable postrecovery symptom course, and a lower likelihood of recurrence over 3 years. Life stress at T2 was not predictive of outcomes. Finally, undesirable life events at T3 tended to predict a worse symptom course and a higher likelihood of recurrence, particularly for individuals on medication. The findings are discussed in terms of (a) different processes influenced by life stress over time and (b) limitations of existing longitudinal research for studying the effects of life stress over prolonged intervals.Journal of Abnormal Psychology 09/1996; 105(3):313-28. · 4.86 Impact Factor