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Investigating the impact of early alliance on predicting subjective change at posttreatment: An evidence-based souvenir of overlooked clinical perspectives.

Type of publication Peer-reviewed
Publikationsform Original article (peer-reviewed)
Author Flückiger Christoph, Hilpert Peter, Goldberg Simon B., Caspar Franz, Wolfer Christine, Held Judith, Vîslă Andreea,
Project Design development in randomized clinical trials - Psychological treatment in generalized anxiety
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Original article (peer-reviewed)

Journal Journal of Counseling Psychology
Page(s) 1 - 13
Title of proceedings Journal of Counseling Psychology
DOI 10.1037/cou0000336

Open Access

Type of Open Access Repository (Green Open Access)


Despite meta-analytic evidence showing that alliance is associated with posttreatment outcomes, several open questions still remain regarding this relation. First, we investigate whether (or not) the progressive aggregation of early alliance assessments increases the alliance–outcome relation across 2 distress and 4 subjective change measures. Second, we investigate whether the alliance–outcome relations using subjective change measures are independent from intake distress and early response. Third, we explore whether the progressive aggregation of the alliance on outcomes becomes particularly apparent between or within therapists again investigating these six outcome measures. Data were drawn from N 430 patients treated by N 151 therapists. Patient ratings of early alliance were assessed after Session 1 to 6. For outcome, 2 commonly used distress measures at intake and at posttreatment and 4 measures of retrospectively evaluated subjective change at posttreatment are integrated into a series of multilevel models. The proportion of variance in outcome predicted by alliance scores varied considerably depending on the number of alliance assessments which were aggregated, as well as on the type of outcome assessment (distress vs. subjective change measures) explaining up to 15% of outcome variance. Improvements in the strength of prediction with aggregated alliance assessments were most pronounced for subjective change measures for between-therapist components of the alliance. Examining associations with subjective change mea- sures provides an additional, patient-centered perspective of the relation between early alliance and treatment outcomes.