Department of Psychology and Behavioural Sciences

Symptomatic distress and effectiveness of psychological treatments delivered at a nationwide student counseling service

Research output: Contribution to journal/Conference contribution in journal/Contribution to newspaperJournal articleResearchpeer-review

  • Ole Karkov Østergård
  • ,
  • Morten Fenger, Stolpegaard Psychotherapy Centre
  • ,
  • Esben Hougaard

The aim of this study is to investigate the effectiveness of student counseling in Denmark and to compare the symptomatic distress among student counseling clients with that of Danish outpatients. The pre-intervention level of self-reported symptomatic distress among 1256 students closely paralleled that of psychiatric outpatients. Participants in the intervention study were the 739 student clients with two or more counseling sessions. For the 530 (71.7%) participants with both pre- and post-measurements, the mean pre–post Cohen’s d effect size (ES) was .76 on the Global Severity Index of the Symptom Check List-90-Revised. An intention-to-treat analysis of all 739 clients resulted in an ES of .59. The number of recovered clients according to the Jacobson and Truax criteria was 295 (68.8%) of the 429 (80.9%) clients above the clinical cut-off at pre-intervention, while 66 (12.5%) of the 530 clients reliably deteriorated. The mean number of sessions was 5.0. Individual counseling, number of sessions, and ending counseling in agreement predicted better outcome. In line with results from other countries, this study may indicate that in Denmark student counseling is an effective intervention for a highly needy clientele, even though a high proportion of clients deteriorated (12.5%) or dropped out (31.7%).

Original languageEnglish
JournalCounselling Psychology Quarterly
Pages (from-to)150-168
Number of pages19
Publication statusPublished - 2019

    Research areas

  • ALCOHOL INTERVENTIONS, ANXIETY, CARE, COLLEGE-STUDENTS, DEPRESSION, IMPACT, METAANALYSIS, NORMS, PSYCHOTHERAPY, STRESS, University counseling centers, effectiveness, psychotherapy outcome, student clients' mental health, student counseling

See relations at Aarhus University Citationformats

Download statistics

No data available

ID: 120301893