Encyclopedia of Behavioral Medicine

Living Edition
| Editors: Marc Gellman

Stepped Care Models

  • Carly M. GoldsteinEmail author
  • Sarah Jones
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4614-6439-6_102012-1



Stepped care models are minimally intensive care models for treating conditions or changing behaviors. Patients are initially typically provided with an easy-to-disseminate, low-cost, minimally intensive intervention. If this does not produce remission of undesirable symptoms or sufficient behavior change, patients are provided with a slightly more intensive and more costly intervention. This continues until patients receive an intervention that produces the desired outcome. Ideally, each patient receives the least resource-intensive yet most effective treatment they need. Stepped care models require repeated assessments to determine if a treatment is effective (and can be stepped down), too burdensome (and should be stepped down), ineffective (and must be stepped up), when another treatment becomes available and more likely to produce better effects (requiring deimplementation of the current treatment and...

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References and Further Readings

  1. Bair, M. J., Ang, D., Wu, J., Outcault, D. S., Sargent, C., Kempf, C., Froman, A., Schmid, A., Damush, T., Yu, Z., Davis, W. L., & Kroenke, K. (2015). Evaluation of stepped care for chronic pain (ESCAPE) in veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts: A randomized clinical trial. JAMA Internal Medicine, 175(5), 682–689.  https://doi.org/10.1001/jamainternmed.2015.97.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  2. Carels, R. A., Darby, L., Cacciapaglia, H. M., Konrad, K., Coit, C., Harper, J., Kaplar, E. M., Young, K., Baylen, A. C., & Versland, A. (2007). Using motivational interviewing as a supplement to obesity treatment: A stepped-care approach. Health Psychology, 26(3), 369–374.  https://doi.org/10.1037/0278-6133.26.3.369.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  3. Carels, R. A., Wott, C. B., Young, K. M., Gumble, A., Darby, L. A., Oehlhof, M. W., Harper, J., & Koball, A. (2009). Successful weight loss with self-help: A stepped-care approach. Journal of Behavioral Medicine, 32(6), 503–509.  https://doi.org/10.1007/s10865-009-9221-8.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  4. Jacobi, C., Beintner, I., Fittig, E., Trockel, M., Braks, K., Schade-Brittinger, C., & Dempfle, A. (2017). Web-based aftercare for women with bulimia nervosa following inpatient treatment: Randomized controlled efficacy trial. Journal of Medical Internet Research, 19(9).  https://doi.org/10.2196/jmir.7668.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Kidorf, M., Neufeld, K., King, V. L., Clark, M., & Brooner, R. K. (2007). A stepped care approach for reducing cannabis use in opioid-dependent outpatients. Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment, 32(4), 341–347.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jsat.2006.09.005.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  6. Waring, M. E., Schneider, K. L., Appelhans, B. M., Busch, A. M., Whited, M. C., Rodrigues, S., Lemon, S. C., & Pagoto, S. L. (2014). Early-treatment weight loss predicts 6-month weight loss in women with obesity and depression: Implications for stepped care. Journal of Psychosomatic Research, 76(5), 394–399.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jpsychores.2014.03.004.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.The Weight Control and Diabetes Research CenterThe Miriam HospitalProvidenceUSA
  2. 2.Warren Alpert Medical SchoolBrown UniversityProvidenceUSA
  3. 3.Skidmore CollegeSaratoga SpringsUSA

Section editors and affiliations

  • Emily Lattie
    • 1
  1. 1.Center for Behavioral Intervention TechnologiesNorthwestern UniversityChicagoUSA