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Vantage sensitivity: a framework for individual differences in response to psychological intervention

de Villiers, Bernadette, Lionetti, Francesca and Pluess, Michael (2018) Vantage sensitivity: a framework for individual differences in response to psychological intervention. Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology, 53 (6). pp. 545-554. ISSN 0933-7954

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Identification Number: 10.1007/s00127-017-1471-0


Purpose People differ significantly in their response to psychological intervention, with some benefitting more from treatment than others. According to the recently proposed theoretical framework of vantage sensitivity, some of this variability may be due to individual differences in environmental sensitivity, the inherent ability to register, and process external stimuli. In this paper, we apply the vantage sensitivity framework to the field of psychiatry and clinical psychology, proposing that some people are more responsive to the positive effects of psychological intervention due to heightened sensitivity. Methods After presenting theoretical frameworks related to environmental sensitivity, we review a selection of recent studies reporting individual differences in the positive response to psychological intervention. Results A growing number of studies report that some people benefit more from psychological intervention than others as a function of genetic, physiological, and psychological characteristics. These studies support the vantage sensitivity proposition that treatment response is influenced by factors associated with heightened sensitivity to environmental influences. More recently, studies have also shown that sensitivity can be measured with a short questionnaire which appears to predict the response to psychological intervention. Conclusions Vantage sensitivity is a framework with significant relevance for our understanding of widely observed heterogeneity in treatment response. It suggests that variability in response to treatment is partly influenced by people’s differing capacity for environmental sensitivity, which can be measured with a short questionnaire. Application of the vantage sensitivity framework to psychiatry and clinical psychology may improve our knowledge regarding when, how, and for whom interventions work.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2018 The Authors © CC BY 4.0
Divisions: Centre for Economic Performance
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
R Medicine > RA Public aspects of medicine > RA0421 Public health. Hygiene. Preventive Medicine
Date Deposited: 06 Mar 2018 16:23
Last Modified: 20 Oct 2021 00:38
Projects: H2020—MSCA—IF—2015–704283
Funders: European Commission

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