Predicting Dropout from Children’s Mental Health Services: Using a Need-Based Definition of Dropout

A Correction to this article was published on 22 April 2020

This article has been updated


Dropout from children’s mental health services has negative impacts on children, families and service providers. To target interventions aimed to reduce dropout, it is essential to predict individuals who drop out. This study compares predictors of dropout using a novel need-based definition, to existing definitions of dropout. Children (N = 650; 61% male) aged 5–13 attended five children’s mental health agencies in Ontario. A mixed effects logistic regression was used to model binary outcome variables (i.e., dropout or treatment completion), for each definition of dropout. Using the need-based definition, older child age, lower child problem presentation, higher child risk behaviors, higher caregiver needs, and more child strengths predicted an increased likelihood of dropout. The need-based definition results in different predictors of dropout than existing definitions in the literature. High caregiver needs was the only predictor of dropout across all definitions. Caregiver needs represent a prospective target when distributing interventions aimed to reduce dropout.

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  • 22 April 2020

    The original version of this article was unfortunately published with an error in Table 2. The confidence intervals listed in Table 2 were published incorrectly. The correct version of confidence intervals in Table 2 should read as below.


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Correspondence to Kimberly W. Dossett.

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Dossett, K.W., Reid, G.J. Predicting Dropout from Children’s Mental Health Services: Using a Need-Based Definition of Dropout. Child Psychiatry Hum Dev 51, 13–26 (2020).

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  • Dropout
  • Attrition
  • Mental health services
  • Children’s mental health
  • Ontario