Severity of mental health impairment and trajectories of improvement in an integrated primary care clinic

Craig J. Bryan, Meghan L. Corso, Kent A. Corso, Chad E. Morrow, Kathryn E. Kanzler, Bobbie Ray-Sannerud

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

60 Scopus citations


Objective: To model typical trajectories for improvement among patients treated in an integrated primary care behavioral health service, multilevel models were used to explore the relationship between baseline mental health impairment level and eventual mental health functioning across follow-up appointments. Method: Data from 495 primary care patients (61.1% female, 60.7% Caucasian, 37.141 ± 12.21 years of age) who completed the Behavioral Health Measure (Kopta & Lowry, 2002) at each primary care appointment were used for the analysis. Three separate models were constructed to identify clinical improvement in terms of number of appointments attended, baseline impairment severity level, and the interaction of these 2 variables. Results: The data showed that 71.5% of patients improved across appointments, 56.8% of which (40.5% of the entire sample) was clinically meaningful and reliable. Number of appointments and baseline severity of impairment significantly accounted for variability in clinical outcome, with trajectories of change varying across appointments as a function of baseline severity. Patients with more severe impairment at baseline improved faster than patients with less severe baseline impairment. Conclusions: Patients treated within an integrated primary care behavioral health service demonstrate significant improvements in clinical status, even those with the most severe levels of distress at baseline.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)396-403
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of consulting and clinical psychology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • behavioral health consultation
  • integrated care
  • multilevel models
  • primary care
  • psychotherapy outcome

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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