Treatment Integrity in Psychotherapy Research: Analysis of the Studies and Examination of the Associated Factors
Treatment integrity refers to the degree to which an intervention is delivered as intended. Two studies evaluated the adequacy of treatment integrity procedures (including establishing, assessing, evaluating, and reporting integrity; therapist treatment adherence; and therapist competence) implemented in psychotherapy research, as well as predictors of their implementation. Randomized controlled trials of psychosocial interventions published in 6 influential psychological and psychiatric journals were reviewed and coded for treatment integrity implementation. Results indicate that investigations that systematically addressed treatment integrity procedures are virtually absent in the literature. Treatment integrity was adequately addressed for only 3.50% of the evaluated psychosocial interventions. Journal of publication and treatment approach predicted integrity implementation. Skill-building treatments (e.g., cognitive-behavioral) as compared with non-skill-building interventions (e.g., psychodynamic, nondirective counseling) were implemented with higher attention to integrity procedures. Guidelines for implementation of treatment integrity procedures need to be reevaluated.