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The factor structure of the Working Alliance Inventory Short-form in youth psychotherapy: an empirical investigation

Cirasola, A; Midgley, N; Fonagy, P; IMPACT Consortium, ; Martin, P; (2021) The factor structure of the Working Alliance Inventory Short-form in youth psychotherapy: an empirical investigation. Psychotherapy Research (In press).

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Abstract

Objective: The Working Alliance Inventory short form (WAI-S) is one of the most commonly used alliance measures with adolescents. Yet, its factor structure has received minimal attention in the youth alliance literature. This study investigated the factor structure of the WAI-S in psychotherapy for adolescent depression and explored its measurement invariance across time, therapeutic approaches and patients’ and therapists’ perspectives. The existence of method effects associated with the negatively worded items of the scale was also assessed. Method: The setting of this study is the IMPACT trial, a randomised controlled trial assessing the effects of three therapeutic interventions in the treatment of adolescent depression. The WAI-S was completed at 6, 12 and 36 weeks after randomisation by 338 adolescents and 159 therapists. Data were analysed using confirmatory factor analysis. Results: The hypothesised Bond-Task-Goal alliance structure was not supported and a general, one-factor model was found to be more psychometrically valid. The existence of a method effect and measurement invariance across time and treatment arms were also found. Conclusions: While the distinction between the specific alliance dimensions is conceptually and clinically interesting, at an empirical level the alliance features of the WAI-S in youth psychotherapy remain strongly intercorrelated.

Type: Article
Title: The factor structure of the Working Alliance Inventory Short-form in youth psychotherapy: an empirical investigation
Publisher version: https://www.tandfonline.com/loi/tpsr20
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the author accepted manuscript. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher’s terms and conditions.
Keywords: alliance, youth psychotherapy, Working Alliance Inventory, confirmatory factor analysis, method effect, measurement invariance
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences > Clinical, Edu and Hlth Psychology
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > Institute of Epidemiology and Health
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > Institute of Epidemiology and Health > Applied Health Research
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10097185
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