Skip to main content

Spanish Adaptation of the Working Alliance Inventory-Short (WAI-S)


The goal of our research was to adapt the short forms of the Working Alliance Inventory into the Spanish language for patients and therapists (WAI-S-P and WAI-S-T). The psychometric properties of scores from these measurement instruments were evaluated in Spanish outpatients with depressive disorders and their therapists. The scores of both measures exhibited excellent reliability in terms of internal consistency and excellent convergent validity. Their discriminant validity exhibited some limitations, particularly when the scores of both short measures correlated with those of two empathy measures. Regarding predictive validity, the scores of the overall WAI-S-P and WAI-S-T significantly correlated with residual gain scores of patients in the Beck Depression Inventory (BDI) after the tenth psychotherapy session. Additionally, the overall WAI-S-T scores explained a moderate percentage of the variance in patient BDI score changes. These results are satisfactory and similar to those found in the studies that have utilized the respective original versions of WAI-S in English.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.


  • American Psychiatric Association. (2002). Manual diagnóstico y estadístico de los trastornos mentales [Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders] (4.ª ed., text rev.). Barcelona, Spain: Masson.

  • Andrade-González, N. (2009). El papel del terapeuta en la alianza terapéutica [The role of the therapist in the therapeutic alliance]. Paper presented at UNED, Guadalajara, Spain.

  • Andrade-González, N., & Fernández-Liria, A. (2015a). Spanish Adaptation of the Working Alliance Inventory (WAI): psychometric properties of the patient and therapist forms (WAI-P and WAI-T). Anales de Psicología, 31, 524--533. doi:10.6018/analesps.31.2.177961.

  • Andrade-González, N., & Fernández-Liria, A. (2015b). Spanish adaptation of the Revised Helping Alliance Questionnaire (HAq-II). Journal of Mental Health, 24, 155--161. doi:10.3109/09638237.2015.1036975.

  • Arnow, B. A., Steidtmann, D., Blasey, C., Manber, R., Constantino, M. J., Klein, D. N., … Kocsis, J. H. (2013). The relationship between the therapeutic alliance and treatment outcome in two distinct psychotherapies for chronic depression. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 81, 627–638. doi:10.1037/a0031530.

  • Barrett-Lennard, G. T. (1978). The Relationship Inventory: later developments and adaptations. JSAS: Catalog of Selected Documents in Psychology, 8(68), 1–55.

  • Beck, A. T., & Steer, R. A. (1993). Beck Depression Inventory: manual. San Antonio: The Psychological Corporation.

  • Beck, A. T., Rush, A. J., Shaw, B. F., & Emery, G. (1979). Cognitive therapy of depression. New York: Guilford Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Bordin, E. S. (1979). The generalizability of the psychoanalytic concept of the working alliance. Psychotherapy: Theory, Research and Practice, 16, 252–260. doi:10.1037/h0085885.

  • Bordin, E. S. (1994). Theory and research on the therapeutic working alliance: new directions. In A. O. Horvath & L. S. Greenberg (Eds.), The working alliance: theory, research and practice (pp. 13–37). New York: John Wiley & Sons.

  • Corbella, S., Botella, L., Gómez, A. M., Herrero, O., & Pacheco, M. (2011). Características psicométricas de la versión española del Working Alliance Inventory-Short (WAI-S) [Psychometric properties of Spanish version of Working Alliance Inventory-Short (WAI-S)]. Anales de Psicología, 27, 298–301.

    Google Scholar 

  • Fuertes, J. N., Stracuzzi, T. I., Bennett, J., Scheinholtz, J., Mislowack, A., Hersh, M., & Cheng, D. (2006). Therapist multicultural competency: a study of therapy dyads. Psychotherapy: Theory, Research, Practice, Training, 43, 480–490. doi:10.1037/0033-3204.43.4.480.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Fuertes, J. N., Mislowack, A., Brown, S., Gur-Arie, S., Wilkinson, S., & Gelso, C. J. (2007). Correlates of the real relationship in psychotherapy: a study of dyads. Psychotherapy Research, 17, 423–430. doi:10.1080/10503300600789189.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Hanson, W. E., Curry, K. T., & Bandalos, D. L. (2002). Reliability generalization of Working Alliance Inventory scale scores. Educational and Psychological Measurement, 62, 659–673. doi:10.1177/0013164402062004008.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Hatcher, R. L., & Gillaspy, J. A. (2006). Development and validation of a revised short version of the Working Alliance Inventory. Psychotherapy Research, 16, 12–25. doi:10.1080/10503300500352500.

  • Hayes, J. A., Yeh, Y. J., & Eisenberg, A. (2007). Good grief and not-so-good grief: countertransference in bereavement therapy. Journal of Clinical Psychology, 63, 345–355. doi:10.1002/jclp.20353.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Horvath, A. O. (1981). An exploratory study of the working alliance: its measurement and relationship to therapy outcome (Unpublished doctoral dissertation). University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada.

  • Horvath, A. O., & Greenberg, L. S. (1986). The development of the Working Alliance Inventory. In L. S. Greenberg & W. M. Pinsof (Eds.), The psychotherapeutic process: a research handbook (pp. 529–556). New York: Guilford Press.

  • Horvath, A. O., & Greenberg, L. S. (1989). Development and validation of the Working Alliance Inventory. Journal of Counseling Psychology, 36, 223–233. doi:10.1037/0022-0167.36.2.223.

  • Horvath, A. O., Del Re, A. C., Flückiger, C., & Symonds, D. (2011). Alliance in individual psychotherapy. In J. C. Norcross (Ed.), Psychotherapy relationships that work: evidence-based responsiveness (pp. 25–69). New York: Oxford University Press.

  • Huppert, J. D., Kivity, Y., Barlow, D. H., Gorman, J. M., Shear, M. K., & Woods, S. W. (2014). Therapist effects and the outcome-alliance correlation in cognitive behavioral therapy for panic disorder with agoraphobia. Behaviour Research and Therapy, 52, 26–34. doi:10.1016/j.brat.2013.11.001.

  • Kim, B. S. K., Ng, G. F., & Ahn, A. J. (2009). Client adherence to Asian cultural values, common factors in counseling, and session outcome with Asian American clients at a university counseling center. Journal of Counseling and Development, 87, 131–142. doi:10.1002/j.1556-6678.2009.tb00560.x.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Luborsky, L., Barber, J. P., Siqueland, L., Johnson, S., Najavits, L. M., Frank, A., & Daley, D. (1996). The Revised Helping Alliance Questionnaire (HAq-II): psychometric properties. The Journal of Psychotherapy Practice and Research, 5, 260–271.

    PubMed  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

  • Ministerio de Sanidad y Consumo. (2006). Real Decreto 1030/2006, de 15 de septiembre, por el que se establece la cartera de servicios comunes del Sistema Nacional de Salud y el procedimiento para su actualización [Royal Decree 1030/2006, of 15 September, establishing the portfolio of common services of the National Health System and the procedure for updating set]. Retrieved from

  • Ministerio de Sanidad, Política Social e Igualdad. (2011). Estrategia en Salud Mental del Sistema Nacional de Salud 2009–2013 [Mental Health Strategy of the National Health System from 2009 to 2013]. Retrieved from

  • Muñiz, J. (2005). Utilización de los tests [Use of tests]. In J. Muñiz, A. M. Fidalgo, E. García-Cueto, R. Martínez, & R. Moreno (Eds.), Análisis de los ítems [Item analysis] (pp. 133–172). Madrid: La Muralla.

    Google Scholar 

  • Nunnally, J. C., & Bernstein, I. J. (1994). Psychometric theory. New York: McGraw-Hill.

    Google Scholar 

  • Rogers, C. R. (1957). The necessary and sufficient conditions of therapeutic personality change. Journal of Consulting Psychology, 21, 95–103. doi:10.1037/h0045357.

  • Safran, J. D., & Muran, J. C. (2000). Negotiating the therapeutic alliance: a relational treatment guide. New York: Guilford Press.

  • Sanz, J., & Vázquez, C. (1998). Fiabilidad, validez y datos normativos del Inventario para la Depresión de Beck [Reliability, validity, and normative data of the Beck Depression Inventory]. Psicothema, 10, 303–318.

    Google Scholar 

  • Tracey, T. J., & Kokotovic, A. M. (1989). Factor structure of the Working Alliance Inventory. Psychological Assessment: A Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 1, 207–210.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Tryon, G. S., Blackwell, S. C., & Hammel, E. F. (2008). The magnitude of client and therapist working alliance ratings. Psychotherapy: Theory, Research, Practice, Training, 45, 546–551. doi:10.1037/a0014338.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Urbanoski, K. A., Kelly, J. F., Hoeppner, B. B., & Slaymaker, V. (2012). The role of therapeutic alliance in substance use disorder treatment for young adults. Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment, 43, 344–351. doi:10.1016/j.jsat.2011.12.013.

  • Vázquez, C., & Sanz, J. (1997). Fiabilidad y valores normativos de la versión española del Inventario para la Depresión de Beck de 1978 [Reliability and normative data of the Spanish version of 1978 Beck’s Depression Inventory]. Clínica y Salud, 8, 403–422.

    Google Scholar 

  • Vázquez, C., & Sanz, J. (1999). Fiabilidad y validez de la versión española del Inventario para la Depresión de Beck de 1978 en pacientes con trastornos psicológicos [Reliability and validity of the Spanish version of Beck’s Depression Inventory (1978) in patients with psychological disorders]. Clínica y Salud, 10, 59–81.

    Google Scholar 

  • Vöhringer, C., Pérez, J. C., Martínez, C., Altimir, C., Dagnino, P., Suárez, N., & Krause, M. (2013). “Working Alliance Inventory” versión observacional: traducción, adaptación y validación al castellano [“Working Alliance Inventory” observational form: translation, adaptation and validation to Spanish]. Terapia Psicológica, 31, 301–311. doi:10.4067/S0718-48082013000300005.

  • Waizmann, V., & Roussos, A. (2011). Adaptación del Inventario de Alianza de Trabajo en su versión observador: WAI-O-A [Adaptation of the Working Alliance Inventory in its Observer Form: WAI-O-A]. Anuario de Investigaciones, 18, 95–104.

    Google Scholar 

Download references


We thank the patients and therapists from several Spanish public health centers for participating in this study. We thank Professor Adam O. Horvath of Simon Fraser University (Canada) for providing the short versions of the WAI. We also thank the linguists from the University of Alcalá’s School of Writing (Spain) and the mathematicians from the Statistical Consultancy Unit at the University of Oviedo (Spain) for their assistance. Finally, we thank biologist Lourdes Fernández-Casas for her help carrying out this research.

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Corresponding author

Correspondence to Nelson Andrade-González.

Electronic supplementary material

Below is the link to the electronic supplementary material.


(PDF 32 kb)


Appendix 1

ᅟ Items in Spanish-language WAI-S-P

Appendix 2

ᅟ Items in Spanish-language WAI-S-T

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Andrade-González, N., Fernández-Liria, A. Spanish Adaptation of the Working Alliance Inventory-Short (WAI-S). Curr Psychol 35, 169–177 (2016).

Download citation

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI:


  • Spanish adaptation
  • Working Alliance Inventory
  • WAI-Short