Client preferences affect treatment satisfaction, completion, and clinical outcome: a meta-analysis

Clin Psychol Rev. 2014 Aug;34(6):506-17. doi: 10.1016/j.cpr.2014.06.002. Epub 2014 Jun 16.


We conducted a meta-analysis on the effects of client preferences on treatment satisfaction, completion, and clinical outcome. Our search of the literature resulted in 34 empirical articles describing 32 unique clinical trials that either randomized some clients to an active choice condition (shared decision making condition or choice of treatment) or assessed client preferences. Clients who were involved in shared decision making, chose a treatment condition, or otherwise received their preferred treatment evidenced higher treatment satisfaction (ESd=.34; p<.001), increased completion rates (ESOR=1.37; ESd=.17; p<.001), and superior clinical outcome (ESd=.15; p<.0001), compared to clients who were not involved in shared decision making, did not choose a treatment condition, or otherwise did not receive their preferred treatment. Although the effect sizes are modest in magnitude, they were generally consistent across several potential moderating variables including study design (preference versus active choice), psychoeducation (informed versus uninformed), setting (inpatient versus outpatient), client diagnosis (mental health versus other), and unit of randomization (client versus provider). Our findings highlight the clinical benefit of assessing client preferences, providing treatment choices when two or more efficacious options are available, and involving clients in treatment-related decisions when treatment options are not available.

Keywords: Completion; Outcome; Patient preference; Satisfaction; Shared decision making; Treatment choice.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Patient Compliance* / psychology
  • Patient Compliance* / statistics & numerical data
  • Patient Participation* / psychology
  • Patient Participation* / statistics & numerical data
  • Patient Preference* / psychology
  • Patient Preference* / statistics & numerical data
  • Patient Satisfaction* / statistics & numerical data
  • Treatment Outcome*