The Role of the Alliance in the Pharmacologic Treatment of Depression
J Clin Psychiatry 1997;58:196-204
© Copyright 2014 Physicians Postgraduate Press, Inc.
Purchase This PDF for $40.00
If you are not a paid subscriber, you may purchase the PDF.
(You'll need the free Adobe Acrobat Reader.)
Receive immediate full-text access to JCP. You can subscribe to JCP online-only ($86) or print + online ($156 individual).
With your subscription, receive a free PDF collection of the NCDEU Festschrift articles. Hurry! This offer ends December 31, 2011.
If you are a paid subscriber to JCP and do not yet have a username and password, activate your subscription now.
As a paid subscriber who has activated your subscription, you have access to the HTML and PDF versions of this item.
Click here to login.
Did you forget your password?
Still can't log in? Contact the Circulation Department at 1-800-489-1001 x4 or send email
Background: The purpose of this study was to determine the influence of the therapeutic alliance on the efficacy of pharmacotherapy for depression.
Method: The sample consisted of 31 depressed outpatients treated with antidepressants. The alliance was measured by the patient and therapist versions of the California Pharmacotherapy Alliance Scale. Treatment outcome was measured by the Hamilton Rating Scale for Depression and the Beck Depression Inventory, and the Symptom, Sign, Side-Effect Checklist was also completed.
Results: The alliance measures accounted for between 21% and 56% of the variance in the three outcome measures. By averaging across outcome measures, therapist perceptions of the alliance predicted 41% of the variance in improvement in depressive symptoms, where patient perceptions predicted 25%. Scores on both alliance measures were lower than those reported in studies of psychotherapy. Patient attitude toward medication was correlated with somatic complaints, but not with depression scores. Therapist perception of patient hostility correlated with patient depression. Patients differed in the way their alliance and outcome interacted, so that the association might be positive or negative.
Conclusion: Alliance is correlated with outcome in pharmacotherapy management of depression, although there may be interindividual variability across patients. In the pharmacotherapy of depression, therapist perception of alliance is a better predictor of symptom outcome than patient perception, while the reverse is usually found in psychotherapy.