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J Subst Abuse Treat. 2008 Sep;35(2):137-47. Epub 2007 Nov 7.

Assessing fidelity in individual and family therapy for adolescent substance abuse.

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The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University, New York, NY 10017-6706, USA.


This study introduces an observational measure of fidelity in evidence-based practices for adolescent substance abuse treatment. The Therapist Behavior Rating Scale-Competence (TBRS-C) measures adherence and competence in individual cognitive-behavioral therapy and multidimensional family therapy for adolescent substance abuse. The TBRS-C assesses fidelity to the core therapeutic goals of each approach and also contains global ratings of therapist competence. Study participants were 136 clinically referred adolescents and their families observed in 437 treatment sessions. The TBRS-C demonstrated strong interrater reliability for goal-specific ratings of treatment adherence, and modest reliability for goal-specific and global ratings of therapist competence, evidence of construct validity, and discriminant validity with an observational measure of therapeutic alliance. The utility of the TBRS-C for evaluating treatment fidelity in field settings is discussed.

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