Construct validity of a measure of affective communication in psychotherapy

Kevin B. Meehan, Kenneth N. Levy, John F. Clarkin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


This study evaluated the psychometric properties of a therapist measure for evaluating the affective communication created between the patient and therapist during the initial stages of treatment. The Affective Communication Questionnaire (ACQ) was administered to a sample of 81 therapists, each rating a single patient, and principal component analysis indicated the measure has coherent dimensions with strong internal consistency. The construct validity of the ACQ was then established in a sample of 16 therapists rating 73 patients diagnosed with borderline personality disorder. The measure was found to have a strong relationship to the related constructs of transference, countertransference, and affect experience in predicted directions. The measure also was found to have a modest relationship to independent assessments of patient functioning, most notably more negative affect was significantly related to more odd or eccentric (Cluster A) and less anxious or fearful (Cluster C) personality disorder symptoms, and greater narrative coherence. Differences in affective communication as a function of treatment type were also evaluated. The clinical and research implications of the findings are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)145-165
Number of pages21
JournalPsychoanalytic Psychology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2012

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Clinical Psychology


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