gms | German Medical Science

15th Congress of the European Forum for Research in Rehabilitation (EFRR)

15.04. - 17.04.2019, Berlin

Outcome of psychosomatic rehabilitation in Germany – Overview of 30 years of rehabilitation/health services research

Meeting Abstract

15th Congress of the European Forum for Research in Rehabilitation (EFRR). Berlin, 15.-17.04.2019. Düsseldorf: German Medical Science GMS Publishing House; 2019. Doc014

doi: 10.3205/19efrr014, urn:nbn:de:0183-19efrr0146

Published: April 16, 2019

© 2019 Nübling et al.
This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License. See license information at



Background: Psychosomatic rehabilitation has been an integral part of the treatment offer for mentally and psychosomatically ill people in Germany for about 50 years. In 2016, 16% of all rehabilitation treatments of the pension insurances were carried out for people with mental illness, which corresponds to about 150,000 treatments. There are also about as many treatments financed by statutory and private health insurances. The number of annual treatments is still increasing.

Aim: The aim is to give an overview over outcome research in psychosomatic rehabilitation in Germany.

Method: For about 30 years, evaluation research has developed for this area. A meta-analysis carried out at the year 2004 [1] comes up with 67 mostly naturalistic studies involving more than 25,000 patients. Since 2004, a considerable number of further and large studies have been added, so that the data situation has been continuously expanded.

Results/findings: In the MESTA study, mean effect sizes were found at the end of treatment of d=1.05 and in 1-year follow-up of d=0.67. When considering disorder-specific patient groups (e.g., diagnosis depression) with disorder-specific assessment instruments (e.g., depression score), the effect sizes were d=1.3 and d=1.0, respectively. The return on investment (ROI) was 2–4.5. Although a systematic meta-analysis of recent studies is still outstanding, it can be assumed that psychosomatic rehabilitation is highly effective and also efficient.

Discussion and conclusions: The lecture discusses methodological foundations for rehabilitation and health services research as well as the results of the MESTA study in the context of current studies.


Steffanowski A, Löschmann C, Schmidt J, Wittmann WW, Nübling R. Metaanalyse der Effekte psychosomatischer Rehabilitation. Bern: Huber; 2007.