Cognitive-behavioral-interpersonal scenarios: Interformulator reliability and convergent validity

Gregory H. Mumma, Jason L. Smith

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

37 Scopus citations


Although a clinical case formulation can help focus treatment, little is known about the reliability and convergent validity of independently generated, cognitive-behavioral or cognitive-interpersonal formulations. Using videotapes of a semi-structured interview, pairs of clinicians independently formulated 2-3 cognitive-behavioral-interpersonal scenarios (CBISs) on each of 4 women with mood or comorbid mood and anxiety disorders. Ten licensed psychologists then rated each CBIS on 15 dimensions involving cognition, affect, symptoms, and interpersonal functioning. Reliability of the mean ratings (aggregated over the 10 raters) was >.83 for all dimensions. The set of CBISs formulated by a clinician for a patient generally demonstrated good convergent (same patient/different formulator) and discriminant (different patient/same or different formulator) validity on three factor-analytically derived general dimensions of depression, anxiety, and interpersonal functioning. Within each of three patients, pairs of formulators generally agreed on the situational components of the CBISs and demonstrated adequate to very good convergent validity of corresponding CBIS content. These results contribute to accumulating evidence for the reliability and validity of clinical scenarios as an idiographic, situation-level case formulation. Such formulations can help identify multiple cognitive, behavioral, or interpersonal intervention points in the causal chain leading to distress or dysfunction.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)203-221
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Psychopathology and Behavioral Assessment
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2001


  • Case formulation
  • Clinical scenarios
  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy
  • Convergent validity
  • Idiographic assessment


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