When Do People Believe That Alcohol Treatment Is Effective? The Importance of Perceived Client and Therapist Motivation

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Respondents read a narrative depicting a drunk-driving offender seeking help for alcohol problems and were randomly assigned to receive 1 of 3 types of client motivation (autonomous motivation, compulsory treatment, or impression management) and 1 of 2 types of therapist motivation (autonomous vs. controlled motivation). Maximal treatment efficacy was expected when both client and therapist were autonomously motivated. Minimal treatment efficacy was expected when the client entered treatment only to manage impressions and when the therapist exhibited controlled motivation. Compulsory treatment undermined beliefs about client interest in treatment. Finally, autonomously motivated therapists were expected to be able to reverse expected negative outcomes for compulsory treatment and impression management clients. It was found that expectations about the efficacy of alcohol treatment were affected by the perceived motivation of clients and therapists.

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