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Br J Psychiatry. 2005 Jan;186:11-7.

Stepped care in psychological therapies: access, effectiveness and efficiency. Narrative literature review.

Author information

1
National Primary Care Research and Development Centre, 5th Floor, Williamson Building, University of Manchester, Manchester M13 9PL, UK. peter.bower@man.ac.uk

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

There is a significant gap between the demand for psychological therapy services and the available supply. One proposal to overcome this problem is to increase efficiency of provision through the adoption of briefer 'minimal interventions' within stepped care models.

AIMS:

To examine the theoretical underpinnings of stepped care, together with the practicalities of the adoption of this system of care.

METHOD:

Narrative literature review.

RESULTS:

The potential clinical and economic benefits of stepped care are dependent upon underlying assumptions of equivalence in terms of clinical outcomes, efficiency in terms of resource use and costs, and acceptability of 'minimal interventions' to patients and therapists. Illustrative studies of these issues are considered.

CONCLUSIONS:

Although psychological services might benefit from the adoption of the stepped care model, a substantial research agenda needs to be fulfilled before a judgement can be made as to whether stepped care might be an efficient method of delivering psychological services.

Comment in

PMID:
15630118
DOI:
10.1192/bjp.186.1.11
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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