Outpatient Psychotherapy for Borderline Personality Disorder – Randomized Trial of Schema-Focused Therapy vs Transference-Focused Psychotherapy, Archives of General Psychiatry. 2006;63:649-658.
Josephine Giesen-Bloo, MSc; Richard van Dyck, MD, PhD; Philip Spinhoven, PhD; Willem van Tilburg, MD, PhD; Carmen Dirksen, PhD; Thea van Asselt, MSc; Ismay Kremers, PhD; Marjon Nadort, MSc; Arnoud Arntz, PhD
Design A multicenter, randomized, 2-group design.
Setting Four general community mental health centers.
Participants Eighty-eight patients with a Borderline Personality Disorder Severity Index, fourth version, score greater than a predetermined cutoff score.
Intervention Three years of either SFT or TFP with sessions twice a week.
Main Outcome Measures Borderline Personality Disorder Severity Index, fourth version, score; quality of life; general psychopathologic dysfunction; and measures of SFT/TFP personality concepts. Patient assessments were made before randomization and then every 3 months for 3 years.
Results Data on 44 SFT patients and 42 TFP patients were available. The sociodemographic and clinical characteristics of the groups were similar at baseline. Survival analyses revealed a higher dropout risk for TFP patients than for SFT patients (P = .01). Using an intention-to-treat approach, statistically and clinically significant improvements were found for both treatments on all measures after 1-, 2-, and 3-year treatment periods. After 3 years of treatment, survival analyses demonstrated that significantly more SFT patients recovered (relative risk = 2.18; P = .04) or showed reliable clinical improvement (relative risk = 2.33; P = .009) on the Borderline Personality Disorder Severity Index, fourth version. Robust analysis of covariance (ANCOVA) showed that they also improved more in general psychopathologic dysfunction and measures of SFT/TFP personality concepts (P<.001). Finally, SFT patients showed greater increases in quality of life than TFP patients (robust ANCOVAs, P=.03 and P<.001).
Conclusions Three years of SFT or TFP proved to be effective in reducing borderline personality disorder–specific and general psychopathologic dysfunction and measures of SFT/TFP concepts and in improving quality of life; SFT is more effective than TFP for all measures.
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