A quantitative method for the analysis of nomothetic relationships between idiographic structures: Dynamic patterns create attractor states for sustained posttreatment change

Aaron J. Fisher, Michelle G. Newman, Peter C.M. Molenaar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

51 Scopus citations

Abstract

Objective: The present article aimed to demonstrate that the establishment of dynamic patterns during the course of psychotherapy can create attractor states for continued adaptive change following the conclusion of treatment. Method: This study is a secondary analysis of T. D. Borkovec and E. Costello (1993). Of the 55 participants in the original study, 33 were retained for the present analysis due to the homogeneity of psychotherapy outcome among these participants. Of these 33, the majority were White (88) and female (70), and the average age was 35.44 years (SD = 14.46). Participants participated in 12 weeks of either cognitive behavioral therapy or applied relaxation. Daily diary entries from the treatment period were subjected to time series analyses in order to determine the degree of order versus disorder present within individual dynamic systems. These idiographic data were then aggregated for nomothetic analysis of treatment outcome via linear mixed effect models. Results: Spectral power due to daily to intradaily oscillations in thrice-daily diary data significantly moderated reliable change over posttreatment follow-up such that lesser power predicted increases in reliable change over the 1-year follow-up period. Additionally, residual variance for dynamic factor models significantly moderated the slope for change over the follow-up period, such that lesser variance - and thus greater order in dynamic systems - predicted increases in reliable change. Conclusions: The degree of order in dynamic systems established during therapy acted as an adaptive attractor state, promoting continued positive gains 1 year after the conclusion of therapy. The present study represents an important innovation in the study of dynamic systems in psychotherapy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)552-563
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of consulting and clinical psychology
Volume79
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 2011

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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