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There is a substantial proportion of patients who drop out of treatment before they receive minimally adequate care. They tend to have worse health outcomes than those who complete treatment. Our main goal is to describe the frequency and determinants of dropout from treatment for mental disorders in low-, middle-, and high-income countries.
Respondents from 13 low- or middle-income countries (N = 60 224) and 15 in high-income countries (N = 77 303) were screened for mental and substance use disorders. Cross-tabulations were used to examine the distribution of treatment and dropout rates for those who screened positive. The timing of dropout was examined using Kaplan–Meier curves. Predictors of dropout were examined with survival analysis using a logistic link function.
Dropout rates are high, both in high-income (30%) and low/middle-income (45%) countries. Dropout mostly occurs during the first two visits. It is higher in general medical rather than in specialist settings (nearly 60% v. 20% in lower income settings). It is also higher for mild and moderate than for severe presentations. The lack of financial protection for mental health services is associated with overall increased dropout from care.
Extending financial protection and coverage for mental disorders may reduce dropout. Efficiency can be improved by managing the milder clinical presentations at the entry point to the mental health system, providing adequate training, support and specialist supervision for non-specialists, and streamlining referral to psychiatrists for more severe cases.
Performance monitoring entails rapid error detection to maintain task performance. Impaired performance monitoring is a candidate pathophysiological process in psychotic disorders, which may explain the broader deficit in executive function and its known associations with negative symptoms and poor functioning. The current study models cross-sectional pathways bridging neurophysiological measures of performance monitoring with executive function, symptoms, and functioning.
Data were from the 20-year assessment of the Suffolk County Mental Health Project. Individuals with psychotic disorders (N = 181) were originally recruited from inpatient psychiatric facilities. Data were also collected from a geographically and demographically matched group with no psychosis history (N = 242). Neural measures were the error-related negativity (ERN) and error positivity (Pe). Structural equation modeling tested mediation pathways.
Blunted ERN and Pe in the clinical cohort related to impaired executive function (r = 0.26–0.35), negative symptom severity (r = 0.17–0.25), and poor real-world functioning (r = 0.17–0.19). Associations with executive function were consistent across groups. Multiple potential pathways were identified in the clinical cohort: reduced ERN to inexpressivity was mediated by executive function (β = 0.10); reduced Pe to global functioning was mediated by executive function and avolition (β = 0.10).
This supports a transdiagnostic model of psychotic disorders by which poor performance monitoring contributes to impaired executive function, which contributes to negative symptoms and poor real-world functioning. If supported by future longitudinal research, these pathways could inform the development of targeted interventions to address cognitive and functional deficits that are central to psychotic disorders.