Therapeutic alliance, cohesion, and group climate are all important relationship components of group therapy which have been shown to predict client outcome. Yet, due to discrepancies in how these are defined and measured in the literature, how these three constructs differentially predict outcome is not yet fully understood. For instance, most studies only assess a single construct and often do so with outcome assessed from a pre-post perspective rather than continuously. The present study is an archival analysis on Group Questionnaire (GQ) positive bond and Outcome Questionnaire-45 (OQ-45) data that aims to elucidate the predictive relationship of therapeutic alliance, group cohesion, and climate with client outcome in group therapy. Furthermore, this study is intended to clarify past discrepancies by studying alliance, cohesion, and group climate simultaneously, as well as address limitations of previous studies by exploring the relationship with outcome over the life of a group using continuous data. Results demonstrate that symptom improvement on the OQ-45 total score has a positive relationship with each of the GQ positive bond constructs (i.e., alliance, cohesion, and climate). This relationship was significant regarding session-to-session fluctuations on a given client's scores, as well as regarding differences between clients in their personal averages across sessions. However, when linear growth trajectories are considered that take session to session change in the three relationship constructs and outcome, only alliance emerges as a significant predictor of improvement. In other words, alliance, climate, cohesion all predict outcome when time is ignored; however, only alliance significantly predicts outcome when change over time is taken into account. These results highlight the importance of the client-therapist relationship to outcome in group therapy setting, mirroring some past research findings.



College and Department

Family, Home, and Social Sciences; Psychology



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alliance, cohesion, climate, group therapy, outcome, Group Questionnaire