Therapists’ and Clients’ Perceptions of Bonding as Predictors of Outcome in Multisystemic Therapyedit
This longitudinal study examined whether strength of and balance in self-reported caregiver, youth, and therapist emotional bonds in mid- and late treatment predicted outcomes in Multisystemic Therapy of adolescent behavior problems in a sample of 164 caregiver-youth dyads. Strength of and balance in bonds related to outcome in different ways, depending on the source of the report and time. Results showed a limited association between family members’ emotional connection with the therapist and treatment outcome, whereas therapists’ perceptions of bond with the caregiver showed highly significant associations across time. Caregiver-therapist agreement on emotional connection at both time points predicted therapist evaluation of treatment success and successful termination, but this was largely explained by therapists’ level of alliance. Balance in bonds with the therapist between caregiver and youth had no significant associations with any outcome. The study major limitations such as examining only one component of alliance and possible implications are discussed.