Exploring the psychometric properties of the Working Alliance Inventory in general practice: a cross-sectional study
SourceBJGP Open, 5, 1, (2021), article bjgpopen20X101131
Article / Letter to editor
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Primary and Community Care
SubjectRadboudumc 18: Healthcare improvement science RIHS: Radboud Institute for Health Sciences
BACKGROUND: The therapeutic alliance is a framework from psychology that describes three components: goals, tasks, and bond. The Working Alliance Inventory adapted for general practice (WAI-GP) measures the strength of the therapeutic alliance between the patient and the clinician, and it could be useful in both research and clinical settings. AIM: To determine if the patient score on WAI-GP can delineate the three components (goals, tasks, and bond), and to test concurrent validity with the Consultation and Relational Empathy (CARE) measure and the Patient Perception of Patient-Centredness (PPPC) measure. DESIGN & SETTING: A cross-sectional study took place in 12 general practice waiting rooms in Australia. METHOD: The research instruments included the 12-item WAI-GP (the patient version), the CARE and PPPC measures, plus a survey of demographics and reason for consultation. To perform a principal components factor analysis of the WAI-GP, this dataset was combined with an existing dataset. The Spearman rank correlation was used to determine concurrent validity between the WAI-GP and the CARE and PPPC measures. RESULTS: Participants (97-99%) reported a strong positive alliance after the consultation (average WAI-GP mean 4.27 ± 0.67 out of 5, n = 146). Factor analysis could not separate the three components (one factor, eigenvalue >1; Cronbach's α = 0.957; n = 281). Concurrent validity was supported by moderate correlations with the other measures (PPPC ρ = -0.51, P<0.005, CARE ρ = 0.56, P<0.005). CONCLUSION: Three components could not be identified, but the WAI-GP has a high internal consistency and concurrent validity with moderate correlations with the CARE and PPPC. A more diverse sample may better distinguish the three components leading to more specific feedback to clinicians on their consultation practices.
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