Examining the effectiveness of solution-focused brief therapy: a meta-analysis using random effects modeling
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This study examined the overall effectiveness of solution-focused brief therapy (SFBT) by conducting a meta-analysis using random effects modeling. Hierarchical linear modeling software was used to synthesize the primary studies to calculate an overall effect size estimate as well as test for between-study variability. The results from the literature search produced 22 studies, both published and unpublished dissertations, that met the criteria to be included in the meta-analysis and were divided and grouped into three categories based on the outcome problem each study targeted (externalizing behavior problems, internalizing behavior problems, and family and relationship problems). The study found that solution-focused brief therapy demonstrated small, but positive treatment effects favoring SFBT group on the outcome measures. The unconditional random effects model shows an overall weighted mean effect size estimate of .11 for externalizing behavior problems, .26 for internalizing problem behaviors, and .26 for family and relationship problems. Only the magnitude of the effect for internalizing behavior problems was statistically significant at the p<.05 level thereby indicating that the treatment effect for SFBT group is different than the treatment effect for control group. Results from this meta-analysis will help social work clinicians in their pursuit to practice evidence-based practice. This is the first meta-analysis on SFBT and it allows social workers interested in solution-focused brief therapy to examine the empirical evidence quickly and with more definitive information.