Mental health outcomes in patients with a long-term condition: analysis of an Improving Access to Psychological Therapies service

Natasha Seaton, Rona Moss-Morris, Sam Norton, Katrin Hulme, Joanna Hudson*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


Background Having a long-term condition (LTC) significantly affects mental health. UK policy requires effective mental health provisions for patients with an LTC, generally provided by Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) services. National IAPT data suggest that patients with an LTC typically demonstrate poorer outcomes compared with patients without an LTC. However, exploration of confounding factors and different outcome variables is limited. Aims To establish the association of LTC status with demographic and clinical factors, and clinical mental health outcomes. Method Anonymised patient-level data from a London IAPT service during January 2019 to October 2020 were used in this cohort study, to compare differences between LTC and non-LTC groups on sociodemographic and clinical variables. Binary logistic and multiple linear regression models were constructed for binary outcome variables (recovery and reliable improvement) and continuous outcomes (distress and functioning), respectively. Results Patients with an LTC were more likely to be female; older; from a Black, mixed or other ethnic background; and have greater social deprivation. Across the four clinical outcomes (recovery, reliable improvement, final psychological distress and final functioning), having an LTC significantly predicted poorer outcomes even after controlling for sociodemographic and clinical baseline variables. For three outcome variables, greater social deprivation and being discharged during the COVID-19 pandemic also predicted poorer clinical outcomes. Conclusions LTC status has a negative effect on mental health outcomes in IAPT services, independent of associated variables such as severity of baseline mental health symptoms, ethnicity and social deprivation. Effective psychological treatment for patients with an LTC remains an unresolved priority.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere101
JournalBJPsych Open
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2022


  • anxiety disorders
  • comorbidity
  • depressive disorders
  • primary care


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