Adherence Measurement in Treatments for Disruptive Behavior Disorders: Pursuing Clear Vision Through Varied Lenses


  • Sonja K. Schoenwald,

  • Ann F. Garland,

  • Michael A. Southam-Gerow,

  • Bruce F. Chorpita,

  • Jason E. Chapman

Address correspondence to Sonja K. Schoenwald, Family Services Research Center, Department of Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences, MUSC, 67 President Street, STE MC406, MSC 861, Charleston, SC 29425. E-mail:


[Clin Psychol Sci Prac 18: 331–341, 2011]

To extend the reach, transparency, and accountability for the implementation and outcomes of effective treatments in routine care, more clarity is needed about what happens in treatment. We attempt to (a) clarify terminology to describe and measure psychological treatment and (b) consider what treatment adherence instruments can tell us about what happens in treatment. We reviewed the content of 11 adherence instruments for 14 evidence-based treatments for disruptive behavior problems in youth identified in an ongoing review of adherence measurement methods used in psychosocial treatment studies from 1980 to 2008. Item number, content, and level of detail varied widely. Implications are considered for the definition of effective treatments and design and testing of strategies to measure and monitor their delivery.