Can we predict therapy outcome in patients with severe somatoform disorders? The influence of severity and resilience
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Somatoform disorders (SFD) tend to be persistent and difficult to treat. Although specialized mental health care in tertiary care has been developed to treat this disorder, a significant amount of people does not improve. Little is known yet regarding the factors that determine whether someone benefits from treatment. According to the vulnerability-stress model and previous literature, severity of the disorder and resilience of the individual are assumed to be predictive for therapy outcome. Therefore, the current study investigated whether therapy outcome can be predicted by the severity of the disorder and the resilience of the person in patients with SFD in tertiary care. Furthermore, it was investigated whether resilience functioned as moderator in which it buffered the relationship between severity and outcome. A total of 90 participants were selected from a tertiary mental health care institution in the Netherlands. All participants had a primary diagnosis of SFD and received treatment. Questionnaires were filled out to examine their severity and resilience scores at baseline and to measure therapy effect. Results showed that severity indeed predicted therapy outcome, in which a higher severity was associated with less beneficial outcomes. Resilience did not predict therapy outcome, but it was indicated to be a buffer between severity and one of the therapy outcomes: physical health. The results indicate that therapy outcome can be predicted by the severity of the disorder, which is valuable information for clinical practice.