The use of treatment process variables to differentiate between completers and dropouts for a guided self -change adolescent substance abuse intervention

Mildred Cordaro, Florida International University


This study documented differences between substance using adolescent participants who either completed or dropped out of a brief motivational intervention. Therapeutic alliance, working alliance and patient involvement were used to describe differences in treatment process ratings in a sample of majority Latino males who either (a) completed a adolescent substance abuse intervention called Alcohol Treatment Targeting Adolescents In Need (ATTAIN) or (b) dropped out after the first or second Guided Self-Change therapy session. Fifteen-minute segments were copied from the midpoint of previously recorded audio-tapes of Guided Self-Change therapy sessions. Raters were trained to a criterion level of interrater reliability for both the Working Alliance Inventory-Short and Vanderbilt Psychotherapy Process Scale. ^ Correlations among Working Alliance Inventory- Short and Vanderbilt Psychotherapy Process Scale subscales reflected a general similarity in the assignment of ratings to client-therapist dyads. Findings underscore why these concepts are often used interchangeably in the treatment process literature. The Vanderbilt Psychotherapy Process Scale patient participation subscale demonstrated substantial empirical differentiation from overall therapeutic alliance. Discriminant function analysis demonstrated the Working Alliance Inventory-Short goal subscale and the Vanderbilt Psychotherapy Process Scale patient participation and therapist warmth and friendliness subscales as successful classifiers of groups of mostly Latino youth based on completion status. Follow-up logistic regression analyses confirmed major findings and successfully predicted group membership. Treatment process constructs can be used as clinical tools to identify participants who may be susceptible to dropping out of treatment services. Further investigation of treatment process may enhance understanding of the influence of alliance between clients and Guided Self-Change therapists. Investigating the role of treatment process as a critical component of brief motivational interventions for substance-using adolescents will inform both practitioners and researchers regarding the effectiveness of community-based substance abuse interventions for adolescents. ^

Subject Area

Psychology, Developmental|Psychology, Clinical

Recommended Citation

Cordaro, Mildred, "The use of treatment process variables to differentiate between completers and dropouts for a guided self -change adolescent substance abuse intervention" (2006). ProQuest ETD Collection for FIU. AAI3249702.