Background: Improving Access to Psychological Therapy (IAPT) services have increased the number of people with common mental health disorders receiving psychological therapy in England, but concerns remain about how equitably these services are accessed.
Method: Using cohort patient data (N=363) collected as part of the independent evaluation of the two demonstration sites, logistic regression was utilised to identify socio-demographic, clinical and service factors predictive of IAPT non-attendance.
Results: Significant predictors of IAPT first session non-attendance by patients were: lower non-risk score on the Clinical Outcomes in Routine Evaluation-Outcome Measure (CORE-OM); more frequent thoughts of "being better off dead" (derived from the CORE-OM); either a very recent onset of common mental health disorder (1 month or less) or a long term condition (more than 2 years); and site.
Limitations: The small sample and low response rate are limitations, as the sample may not be representative of all those referred to IAPT services. The predictive power of the logistic regression model is limited and suggests other variables not available in the dataset may also be important predictors.
Conclusions: The clinical characteristics of risk to self, severity of emotional distress, and illness duration, along with site, were more predictive of IAPT non-attendance than socio-demographic characteristics. Further testing of the relationship between these variables and IAPT non-attendance is recommended. Clinicians should monitor IAPT uptake in those they refer and implement strategies to increase their engagement with services, particularly when referring people presenting with suicidal ideation or more chronic illness.
Keywords: Access; Improving Access to Psychological Therapy (IAPT) services; Non-attendance; Personal characteristics; Psychotherapy; Risk.
Copyright © 2014 The Authors. Published by Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.