Therapeutic adherence and competence scales for Developmentally Adapted Cognitive Processing Therapy for adolescents with PTSD

Background: The assessment of therapeutic adherence and competence is often neglected in psychotherapy research, particularly in children and adolescents; however, both variables are crucial for the interpretation of treatment effects.

Objective: Our aim was to develop, adapt, and pilot two scales to assess therapeutic adherence and competence in a recent innovative program, Developmentally Adapted Cognitive Processing Therapy (D-CPT), for adolescents suffering from posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) after childhood abuse.

Method: Two independent raters assessed 30 randomly selected sessions involving 12 D-CPT patients (age 13–20 years, M age=16.75, 91.67% female) treated by 11 therapists within the pilot phase of a multicenter study.

Results: Three experts confirmed the relevance and appropriateness of each item. All items and total scores for adherence (intraclass correlation coefficients [ICC]=0.76–1.00) and competence (ICC=0.78–0.98) yielded good to excellent inter-rater reliability. Cronbach’s alpha was 0.59 for the adherence scale and 0.96 for the competence scale.

Conclusions: The scales reliably assess adherence and competence in D-CPT for adolescent PTSD patients. The ratings can be helpful in the interpretation of treatment effects, the assessment of mediator variables, and the identification and training of therapeutic skills that are central to achieving good treatment outcomes. Both adherence and competence will be assessed as possible predictor variables for treatment success in future D-CPT trials.

Jana Gutermann, Franziska Schreiber, Simone Matulis, Ulrich Stangier, Rita Rosner, Regina Steil | 2015
In: European journal of psychotraumatology, ISSN 2000-8066 | 6