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


  • 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 futu...

publication date

  • January 1, 2005