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Behav Res Ther. 2010 Nov;48(11):1144-9. doi: 10.1016/j.brat.2010.07.010. Epub 2010 Jul 30.

Stepped care for obsessive-compulsive disorder: An open trial.

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  • 1Anxiety Disorders Center, The Institute of Living, Hartford Hospital, CT 06106, USA.


This study evaluated the effectiveness and treatment costs associated with a stepped care protocol of exposure and response prevention (EX/RP) for obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). In the current open trial, patients (N=14) began with self-directed EX/RP and minimal therapist guidance over the course of six weeks (Step 1). During this phase of treatment, no therapist-directed exposures were conducted. Those who did not respond optimally to Step 1 went on to Step 2, which consisted of 15 sessions of twice-weekly therapist-directed exposures. Results of this study show promise for stepped care utilizing EX/RP for some patients with OCD, with a response rate of 88% and a 60% reduction on the Yale-Brown Obsessive-Compulsive Scale (Y-BOCS) score among treatment completers. Significant improvements were found in Y-BOCS from pre to post-treatment for both Step 1 and Step 2 completers. Forty-five percent of participants (n=5) responded following completion of Step 1, resulting in reduced cost of treatment among these participants. All participants who responded to Step 1 maintained acute gains during the brief follow-up period. Limitations include a small sample size and high attrition rate.

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