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J Fam Psychol. 2006 Mar;20(1):108-16.

Adolescent and parent therapeutic alliances as predictors of dropout in multidimensional family therapy.

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  • 1Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, Miami, FL 33136, USA.


The authors examined the relations between adolescent-therapist and mother-therapist therapeutic alliances and dropout in multidimensional family therapy for adolescents who abuse drugs. The authors rated videotapes of family therapy sessions using observational methods to identify therapist-adolescent and therapist-mother alliances in the first 2 therapy sessions. Differences in adolescent and mother alliances in families that dropped out of therapy and families that completed therapy were compared. Results indicate that both adolescent and mother alliances with the therapist discriminated between dropout and completer families. Although no differences were observed between the 2 groups in Session 1, adolescents and mothers in the dropout group demonstrated statistically significantly lower alliance scores in Session 2 than adolescents and parents in the completer group. These findings are consistent with other research that has established a relationship between therapeutic alliance and treatment response.

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