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date: 24 January 2021

Abstract and Keywords

Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT) is an internationally recognized evidence-based treatment for adults and adolescents reporting multiple problem behaviours related to emotion dysregulation. For clinical interventions, particularly DBT, the randomized controlled trial (RCT) is recognized as the ‘gold standard’ approach to testing effectiveness and efficacy. However, RCTs vary greatly in the rigorousness of research conducted. RCTs assessing DBT’s effectiveness have proliferated since the first published trial in 1994. DBT has been tested for diverse clinical presentations, in different formats, and focused on a variety of outcomes. The plethora of RCT research conducted, which vary in research design, clinician training and adherence among other factors, can make a clear interpretation of findings difficult. As a result, it can be unclear what is known about the effectiveness of DBT, and what is not. This review provides a summary and comprehensive critique of DBT RCTs to date, evaluates research quality assurance, and aims to identify and refine the current knowledge on DBT efficacy and effectiveness, along with areas of future research.

Keywords: randomized controlled trial, dialectical behaviour therapy, quality assurance, adherence, training, borderline personality disorder

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