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J Appl Behav Anal. 1976 Summer; 9(2): 141–145.
PMCID: PMC1311918

Prompts to increase attendance in a community mental-health center.


The effect of a brief appointment reminder for mental-health center applicants is reported. A standardized phone message was delivered by an administrative staff member one to three days before the appointment and a sequential experimental design alternating baseline and phone message conditions was used to assess the effects of the procedure. The no-show rate averages were 32%, 11%, 25%, and 14% respectively. The cost of the procedure was $162.00, which was totally recovered when only six appointments were kept. Since over 1000 patients were involved in the study, the return on the investment of +162.00 is considerable. Implications for this procedure are discussed for other community mental-health centers and for other community care-giving agencies.

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Selected References

These references are in PubMed. This may not be the complete list of references from this article.
  • Gottesfeld H, Martinez H. The first psychiatric interview: patients who do and do not come. Psychol Rep. 1972 Dec;31(3):776–778. [PubMed]
  • Nazarian LF, Mechaber J, Charney E, Coulter MP. Effect of a mailed appointment reminder on appointment keeping. Pediatrics. 1974 Mar;53(3):349–352. [PubMed]
  • Rosenberg CM, Raynes AE. Dropouts from treatment. Can Psychiatr Assoc J. 1973 Jun;18(3):229–233. [PubMed]
  • Slaikeu K, Lester D, Tulkin SR. Show versus no show: a comparison of referral calls to a suicide prevention and crisis service. J Consult Clin Psychol. 1973 Jun;40(3):481–486. [PubMed]

Articles from Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis are provided here courtesy of Society for the Experimental Analysis of Behavior