Abstract for: Revisiting the Roberts-Levin Patient Dropout Model

We review an early system dynamics model of mental health care delivery designed to investigate the premature dropout of patients from therapy (Roberts & Levin, 1976). The purpose of our paper is to a large extent pedagogical: First, using the model as a case, we wish to demonstrate the application of current standards and methods of critical model analysis as an illustration of the development of our field. Second, we propose a series of revisions to the model that illustrate techniques for promoting consistency and stringency in modeling “soft” variables related to human emotions, perceptions and attribution of cause, while remaining as true as possible to the purpose and conceptual framework of the original model. Finally, we consider the implications of the revised model for the questions raised by the original authors. Many of the conclusions of the original work remain intact, but we find that the revised model provides a more consistent explanation of the dropout phenomenon using concepts that are closer to those used in psychotherapy.