Validation of the Cooper-Norcross Inventory of Preferences (C-NIP) in Chinese lay clients and mental health professionals: Factor structure, measurement invariance, and scale differences

She, Zhuang; Xi, Juzhe; Cooper, Mick; Norcross, John C. and Di Malta, Gina (2023). Validation of the Cooper-Norcross Inventory of Preferences (C-NIP) in Chinese lay clients and mental health professionals: Factor structure, measurement invariance, and scale differences. Journal of Counseling Psychology, 70(4) pp. 436–447.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1037/cou0000661

Abstract

The Cooper-Norcross Inventory of Preferences (C-NIP) is one of the most widely used measures of psychotherapy preferences. However, its psychometric properties have not been examined in non-Western samples. Research on disparities between the preferences of mental health professionals and their clients is also limited. We evaluated the C-NIP’s psychometric properties and measurement invariance in Chinese lay clients and mental health professionals, and evaluated the latent mean differences between clients and professionals’ scores on the C-NIP’s four scales (preference for therapist vs. client directiveness, emotional intensity vs. emotional reserve, past vs. present orientation, and warm support vs. focused challenge). This cross-sectional investigation involved 301 lay clients and 856 mental health professionals who completed the Chinese version of the C-NIP. Confirmatory factor analysis (CFA) and exploratory structural equation modeling (ESEM) were used to examine the factor structure of the C-NIP. ESEM provided stronger evidence than CFA for the four-factor model in both samples. The four scales had adequate internal consistency in both the lay clients (αs = .68 - .89) and mental health professionals (αs = .70 - .80). Partial scalar invariance was established across these two populations. Chinese mental health professionals preferred less therapist directiveness, past orientation, and warm support—but more emotional intensity—than Chinese lay clients (ds = 0.25 − 0.90). Culture-specific cutoff values (norms) to identify strong therapy preferences were established. This study supports the application of the C-NIP to non-Western populations and suggests that discrepancies between the preferences of lay clients and mental health professionals are a cross-cultural phenomenon.

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