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The Effectiveness of 6 versus 12 Months of Dialectical Behavior Therapy for Borderline Personality Disorder: A Noninferiority Randomized Clinical Trial
Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics  (IF25.617),  Pub Date : 2022-06-23, DOI: 10.1159/000525102
Shelley F. McMain, Alexander L. Chapman, Janice R. Kuo, Katherine L. Dixon-Gordon, Timothy Henry Guimond, Cathy Labrish, Wanrudee Isaranuwatchai, David L. Streiner

Introduction: Evidence-based psychotherapies for borderline personality disorder (BPD) are lengthy, posing a barrier to their access. Brief psychotherapy may achieve comparable outcomes to long-term psychotherapy for BPD. Evidence is needed regarding the comparative effectiveness of short- versus long-term psychotherapy for BPD. Objective: The aim was to determine if 6 months of Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) is noninferior to 12 months of DBT in terms of clinical effectiveness. Methods: This two-arm, single-blinded, randomized controlled noninferiority trial with suicidal or self-harming patients with BPD was conducted at two sites in Canada. Participants (N = 240, M (SD)age = 28.27 (8.62), 79% females) were randomized to receive either 6 (DBT-6) or 12 months (DBT-12) of comprehensive DBT. Masked assessors obtained measures of clinical effectiveness at baseline and every 3 months, ending at month 24. DBT-6 and DBT-12 were outpatient treatments consisting of weekly individual therapy sessions, weekly DBT skills training group sessions, telephone consultation as needed, and weekly therapist consultation team meetings. Results: The noninferiority hypothesis was supported for the primary outcome, total self-harm (6 months: margin = −1.94, Mdiff [95% CI] = 0.16 [−0.14, 0.46]; 12 months: margin = −1.47, Mdiff [95% CI] = 0.04 [−0.17, 0.23]; 24 months: margin = −1.25, Mdiff [95% CI] = 0.12 [−0.02, 0.36]). Results also supported noninferiority of DBT-6 for general psychopathology and coping skills at 24 months. Furthermore, DBT-6 participants showed more rapid reductions in BPD symptoms and general psychopathology. There were no between-group differences in dropout rates. Conclusions: The noninferiority of a briefer yet comprehensive treatment for BPD has potential to reduce barriers to treatment access.
Psychother Psychosom