Group Dynamics: Theory, Research, and Practice

  • Alliance across group treatment for veterans with posttraumatic stress disorder: The role of interpersonal trauma and treatment type. 20180326
    The authors examined initial levels and pattern of change of alliance in group treatment for posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) for veterans. One hundred and 78 male veterans with PTSD were recruited for this study. Participants were randomly assigned to either group cognitive–behavioral therapy (GCBT) or to group present-centered therapy (GPCT). Alliance with fellow group members was assessed every other session throughout the group (total of seven assessments). Hierarchical linear modeling was used to determine whether treatment condition or index trauma type (interpersonal or noninterpersonal) impacted initial levels of alliance or change in alliance over time. Alliance increased significantly throughout treatment in both conditions. The presence of an interpersonal index event, compared to a noninterpersonal index event, did not significantly impact either initial levels of alliance or change in alliance over time. Participants in the GCBT condition experienced significantly greater growth in alliance over time compared to those in the GPCT condition (p > .05) but did not have significantly different initial alliance ratings. The components and focus of the GCBT treatment may have facilitated more rapid bonding among members. Interpersonal traumatic experience did not negatively impact group alliance. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2018 APA, all rights reserved)
  • When team members perceive task interdependence differently: Exploring centrality asymmetry and team success. 20180326
    In this article, we examine the construct of perceived task interdependence and propose that there is variation in how members perceive interdependence with one another, even within the same team. In particular, we introduce centrality asymmetry—the extent to which members differ in their perceptions of how central they are in the team’s task interdependence network relative to how central other members see them. Using field data (interviews, team surveys, and executive ratings) from 2,222 members across 319 teams in a large corporation, we test hypotheses regarding the relationship between centrality asymmetry and team success. We find that teams with more centrality asymmetry are less successful, above and beyond the level of perceived task interdependence centrality and variation in perceived task interdependence centrality on the team. We discuss the implications of our findings for future theory and research on task interdependence in teams. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2018 APA, all rights reserved)
  • Reflective functioning and growth in therapeutic alliance during emotionally focused group therapy for binge-eating disorder. 20180326
    Therapeutic alliance and reflective functioning may be important for treatment outcomes for binge-eating disorder (BED). The current study examines: (1) growth in therapeutic alliance over 20 sessions of emotionally focused group therapy (EFGT) for BED, and (2) the association between change in reflective functioning and growth in therapeutic alliance in EFGT for BED, both of which may be important for improving BED outcomes. We hypothesize that: (1) growth in therapeutic alliance will be represented by a quadratic curve (i.e., follow a high-low-high pattern of growth), and (2) a quadratic growth in therapeutic alliance during EFGT will be associated with greater increase in reflective functioning from pre- to six months posttreatment. Italian women and men with BED (N = 118) attended EFGT for BED. They completed the Helping Alliance Questionnaire-II, a measure of therapeutic alliance to the therapist at the end of each session of EFGT, and the Adult Attachment Interview pre- and six months posttreatment. The quadratic model of therapeutic alliance growth was a significantly better fit to the data than the linear model, and the quadratic growth in therapeutic alliance during therapy was associated with greater positive change in reflective functioning at six months posttherapy. The current study provides additional support for the high-low-high pattern of therapeutic growth in short-term process-oriented psychotherapies, and that the growth of alliance to the therapist over the course of group therapy may be important for facilitating improved reflective functioning. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2018 APA, all rights reserved)
  • Role-specific versus cross-role preparation for decision-making teams. 20180326
    The authors tested the effect of role-specific versus cross-role preparation on subsequent team-level performance in a complex, decision-making task, specifically a simulation of a business management team. Prior to forming 3-member teams for the simulation, participants were prepared individually for either one specific management role—marketing, operations, or finance—or across all three roles in rotation. Thereafter, teams whose members had role-specific preparation performed significantly better on objective measures of business performance (i.e., profit and market share) than teams whose members had cross-role preparation. Furthermore, participants who received role-specific preparation rated their teammates more highly on indicators of a transactive memory system (TMS)—especially specialization versus credibility and coordination—than did participants in cross-role teams. Results indicated that role-specific preparation set up the preconditions for a differentiated TMS, in which there is considerable individualized knowledge and skills, versus an integrated TMS, in which there is greater shared knowledge and skills. As a framework for future research, the authors propose a model that incorporates the key elements of a TMS, specifically, each team member’s task-relevant knowledge and skills, their subjective awareness of other member’s knowledge and skills, and the communication channels between members. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2018 APA, all rights reserved)
  • Richard L. Moreland (1951–2017). 20180326
    This article memorializes Richard L. Moreland, Professor Emeritus of Psychology at the University of Pittsburgh. He passed away away on November 18, 2017. Dick’s lifelong intellectual passion was the study of small group behavior. Much of this work was carried out in close collaboration with John Levine. Together, they developed an ambitious theory of group socialization that explains how the relations between groups and their members change over time. In recognition of their contributions, they were joint recipients of the 2012 Joseph E. McGrath Award for Lifetime Achievement in the Study of Groups from INGRoup. In addition to his work on group socialization, Dick actively pursued many other small group research interests. Particularly noteworthy was his research on transactive memory, stimulated by a collaboration with Linda Argote. Dick served as Associate Editor for several leading journals of small group research and on the editorial boards of multiple journals. He also served for 18 years on the committee that chose the American Psychological Association (APA) Division 49’s dissertation award and then insured the future recognition of such work by endowing the Richard Moreland Dissertation of the Year Award. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2018 APA, all rights reserved)

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