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Prediction of the likelihood of attrition from adult individual psychotherapy using the self-efficacy for client behaviors scale

25 July 1997


Attrition from psychotherapy is a phenomenon that has been extensively researched, but has failed to produce consistent results. However, this phenomenon is important to understand because of the implications it has on the therapist's ability to conduct effective psychotherapy. The purpose of this study was to provide continuing research in examining the validity of the Self-Efficacy for Client Behaviors scale in clinical application. This study partially replicated the research conducted by Longo, Lent and Brown (1992), while making unique contributions of it's own. The Self-Efficacy for Client Behaviors scale is a 20 item self-report scale that reflects an individual's confidence in ability to negotiate various challenges that he/she might encounter during the therapy process which may affect his/her decision to continue in therapy. The purpose of this study was to determine if scores on the Self-Efficacy for Client Behaviors scale were related to attrition from psychotherapy for 206 adults in individual psychotherapy at the onset of therapy as well as later in the therapy process. Scores from this scale were also compared to measures of outcome. The results from this study suggested that this scale did not clearly measure anything other than general self-efficacy about negotiating the therapy process. There was no significant relationship between this scale and actual behavior, which suggested that the relationship between self-efficacy and actual behavior is not clearly defined as supported by the previous literature. However, the general direction of the scores demonstrated an increase from session one to session five, indicating there is an increase in confidence in abilities to negotiate the therapy process. Although not significant, these findings were consistent with the findings of Longo et al. (1992). The results from this study indicated that the Self-Efficacy for Client Behaviors scale was not useful in distinguishing participants who were at risk for premature termination at the intake session, and did not appear to be useful in predicting attrition with a general adult population presenting for individual psychotherapy. Limitations as well as implications of the findings of this study were discussed.


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