BACKGROUND: Several types of psychotherapy have been proven successful in the treatment of personality disorders in younger age groups, however studies among older patients are lacking. We developed a group schema-focused therapy (SFT) enriched with psychomotor therapy (PMT) for older adults with cluster B and/or C personality disorders. This paper describes the design of a randomized controlled trial (RCT). We will evaluate the (cost-)effectiveness of this therapy protocol in specialized mental health care. We hypothesize that our treatment program is cost-effective and superior to treatment as usual (TAU) in reducing psychological distress and improving quality of life in older adults treated to specialized mental healthcare.
METHODS: A multicenter RCT with a one-year follow-up comparing group schema-focused therapy enriched with psychomotor therapy (group SFT + PMT) and TAU for adults aged 60 years and older who suffer from either a cluster B and/or C personality disorder. The primary outcome is general psychological distress measured with the 53-item Brief Symptom Inventory. Secondary outcomes are the Schema Mode Inventory (118-item version) and the Young Schema Questionnaire. Cost-effectiveness analysis will be performed from a societal perspective with the EuroQol five dimensions questionnaire and structured cost-interviews.
DISCUSSION: This study will add to the knowledge of psychotherapy in later life. The study specifically contributes to the evidence on (cost-) effectiveness of group SFT enriched with PMT adapted to the needs of for older adults with cluster b and/or c personality.
TRIAL REGISTRATION: Netherlands Trial Register NTR 6621 . Registered on 20 August 2017.