The Adolescent Therapeutic Alliance Scale (ATAS): Initial psychometrics and prediction of outcome in family-based substance abuse prevention counseling

Leyla Faw, Aaron Hogue, Suzanne Johnson, Gary M. Diamond, Howard A Liddle

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

31 Scopus citations


This study piloted a 14-item, observer-rated therapeutic alliance scale with adolescents enrolled in family-based substance abuse prevention counseling. The Adolescent Therapeutic Alliance Scale (ATAS) was drawn from 2 main sources: (a) items from the Vanderbilt Therapeutic Alliance Scale-Revised based on developmental considerations and (b) Bordin's (1979) theory of the alliance as consisting of bond, tasks, and goals. Independent observers rated the therapist-adolescent alliance for 51 at-risk, African American adolescents (aged 11-14 years). Factor analysis suggested the ATAS measures one construct (eigenvalue = 8.6, accounting for 61.3% of total scale variance). Item loadings ranged from .40 to .90. Convergent validity with both therapist- and observer-rated engagement was also high. Internal consistency reliability (α =.90) and intraclass correlation (ICC1,2 = .74) were acceptable. A trend emerged for ATAS ratings to predict improvement in adolescent investment in school. Recommendations are made for future work in developing and implementing measures of therapeutic alliance for adolescents.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)141-154
Number of pages14
JournalPsychotherapy Research
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - Jan 1 2005



  • Adolescent development
  • Family-based therapy
  • Substance abuse
  • Therapeutic alliance
  • Therapeutic processes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)
  • Clinical Psychology

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