Original source: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23660968?dopt=Abstract
The current state of the empirical evidence for psychoanalysis: a meta-analytic approach.
Harv Rev Psychiatry. 2013 May-Jun;21(3):107-37
Authors: de Maat S, de Jonghe F, de Kraker R, Leichsenring F, Abbass A, Luyten P, Barber JP, Rien Van, Dekker J
LEARNING OBJECTIVES: After participating in this educational activity, the reader should be better able to evaluate the empirical evidence for pre/post changes in psychoanalysis patients with complex mental disorders, and assess the limitations of the meta-analysis.
BACKGROUND: The effectiveness of psychoanalysis is still a controversial issue, despite increasing research efforts.
OBJECTIVE: To investigate the empirical evidence for psychoanalysis by means of a systematic review of the literature and a meta-analysis of the research data.
METHOD: A systematic literature search was undertaken to find studies regarding the effectiveness of psychoanalysis, published between 1970 and 2011. A meta-analysis was performed.
RESULTS: Fourteen studies (total n = 603) were included in the meta-analysis. All but one were pre/post cohort studies. At treatment termination, the mean pre/post effect size across all outcome measures was 1.27 (95% confidence interval [CI], 1.03-1.50; p < .01). The mean pre/post effect size for symptom improvement was 1.52 (95% CI, 1.20-1.84; p < .01), and for improvement in personality characteristics 1.08 (95% CI, 0.89-1.26; p < .01). At follow-up the mean pre/follow-up effect size was 1.46 across all outcome measures (95% CI, 1.08-1.83; p < .01), 1.65 for symptom change (95% CI, 1.24-2.06; p < .01), and 1.31 for personality change (95% CI, 1.00-1.62; p < .01).
CONCLUSIONS: A limited number of mainly pre/post studies, presenting mostly completers analyses, provide empirical evidence for pre/post changes in psychoanalysis patients with complex mental disorders, but the lack of comparisons with control treatments is a serious limitation in interpreting the results. Further controlled studies are urgently needed.
PMID: 23660968 [PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE]