Within Treatment Therapeutic Alliance Ratings Profiles Predict Posttreatment Frequency of Alcohol Use


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Abstract

Although past research has demonstrated a positive relationship between the therapeutic alliance (TA) and improved drinking outcomes, specific aspects of the alliance have received less attention. In this study, we examined the association between alliance characteristics during treatment and 4-month follow-up drinking reports. Sixty-five treatment-seeking alcohol dependent clients who participated in 12 weeks of individual outpatient treatment provided weekly TA ratings during treatment and reported on pretreatment, during treatment, and posttreatment alcohol use. Latent profile analysis was conducted to discern distinct profiles of client and therapist ratings of therapeutic alliance with similar alliance characteristics. TA profiles were based on clients’ and therapists’ mean alliance rating, minimum alliance rating, maximum alliance rating, the range of alliance ratings, and the difference in session number between maximum and minimum alliance ratings. One- through 4-class models were fit to the data. Model fit was judged by comparative fit indices, substantive interpretability, and parsimony. Wald tests of mean equality determined whether classes differed on follow-up percentage of days abstinent (PDA) at 4-months posttreatment. Three-profile solutions provided the best fit for both client and therapist ratings of the therapeutic alliance. Client alliance rating profiles predicted drinking in the follow-up period, but therapist rating profiles did not. These results suggest that distinct profiles of the therapeutic alliance can be identified and that client alliance rating profiles are associated with frequency of alcohol use following outpatient treatment.

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