Former studies demonstrated that negative outcome expectations (OE) toward psychotherapy predict unfavorable psychotherapy outcomes. Critically, the measurement of OE is limited to direct measures that could be subject to self-presentational distortions. This study aimed to validate an online single category implicit association test (SC-IAT) to measure OE toward psychotherapy indirectly.
We conducted three direct measures of OE, the Therapy SC-IAT, and a (control) Flower SC-IAT in a large sample (N = 705).
The Therapy SC-IAT correlated with most direct measures of OE (convergent validity) but not with measures of flower associations (discriminant validity). In exploratory analyses, we found that direct and indirect measurements of OE were related to prior experiences with psychotherapy.
We discuss ways to improve the indirect-direct correlations and suggest that our newly developed indirect measure could complement the assessment of expectations in research and clinical practice.