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Adm Policy Ment Health. 2015 Mar;42(2):229-43. doi: 10.1007/s10488-014-0548-2.

Validity of therapist self-report ratings of fidelity to evidence-based practices for adolescent behavior problems: correspondence between therapists and observers.

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Treatment Research Division, The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University, 633 Third Avenue, 19th floor, New York, NY, 10017, USA,


Developing therapist-report fidelity tools to support quality delivery of evidence-based practices in usual care is a top priority for implementation science. This study tested the reliability and accuracy of two groups of community therapists who reported on their use of family therapy (FT) and motivational interviewing/cognitive-behavioral therapy (MI/CBT) interventions during routine treatment of inner-city adolescents with conduct and substance use problems. Study cases (n = 45) were randomized into two conditions: (a) Routine Family Therapy (RFT), consisting of a single site that featured family therapy as its standard of care for behavioral treatment; or (b) Treatment As Usual (TAU), consisting of five sites that featured non-family approaches. Therapists and trained observational raters provided FT and MI/CBT adherence ratings on 157 sessions (104 RFT, 53 TAU). Overall therapist reliability was adequate for averaged FT ratings (ICC = .66) but almost non-existent for MI/CBT (ICC = .06); moreover, both RFT and TAU therapists were more reliable in reporting on FT than on MI/CBT. Both groups of therapists overestimated the extent to which they implemented FT and MI/CBT interventions. Results offer support for the feasibility of using existing therapist-report methods to anchor quality assurance procedures for FT interventions in real-world settings, though not for MI/CBT.

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