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On Demand

Why Reliability Matters to Psychologists & What You Need to Know

You may earn this many credits: 1.0

Jennifer Harrison, Ph.D., LP |  Trisha Kivisalu, Ph.D.
1.0 Hour
Audio and Video


Assessment and interpretation are imperative skills, central to the role of a psychologist. In many areas of psychological practice, assessment inventories, tests, checklists, and questionnaires are integral sources of information about an individual’s level of functioning, intellectual ability, mental capacity, and personality. Recommendations to decision-makers are based upon assessment outcomes. Selection of appropriate measures relies on the assumption that an instrument has demonstrated consistency in assessing symptoms with individuals over time. It is incumbent upon psychologists to select appropriate assessment measures that have demonstrated reliability akin to the population of their respondent, first, before inferring validity. Unfortunately, many often confuse reliability and validity, and this leads to the erroneous induction of validity as a property of the measure rather than attributed to the respondents. Reliability directly impacts the interpretability of assessment outcomes and, if not within an acceptable range, renders interpretation invalid. As reliability information is readily available when selecting assessments, this presentation will discuss where and how to find this valuable source of information. The presentation will provide clear definitions and examples of how to interpret reliability along with practical applications relatable to psychologists working in the areas of assessment and report writing.

Introductory: Assumes post-doctoral education status and limited familiarity with topic.


  1. Define and explain the importance of reliability.
  2. Describe the characteristics that influence reliability.
  3. Describe how reliability relates to, and differs from, validity.
  4. Demonstrate the ability to interpret a reliability statistic (Cronbach's Alpha).
  5. List two sources of reliability information for assessments.

This session qualifies for 1 continuing education credit. You must attend the full program to receive continuing education credit.

The Minnesota Psychological Association is approved by the American Psychological Association to sponsor continuing education for psychologists. The Minnesota Psychological Association maintains responsibility for this program and its content.



Jennifer Harrison, Ph.D., LP Related seminars and products

Jennifer L. Harrison, Ph.D., LP is a licensed clinical and forensic psychologist for Direct Care and Treatment – Forensic Services (DCT-FS) in St. Peter, Minnesota. As a forensic examiner, she specializes in forensic evaluations to include competency to stand trial, criminal responsibility, civil commitment, and general and sexual violence risk assessment. Dr. Harrison also serves as a consultant with specialty in the delivery and implementation of a cognitive behavioral treatment known as Michael’s Game, a card game for the treatment of delusional ideas, in both inpatient and outpatient settings. She serves as adjunct faculty for the California School of Professional Psychology (CSPP) at Alliant International University, and teaches doctoral-level courses in meta-analysis and distance learning teaching methods. She also actively publishes meta-analytic research.

The speaker has indicated no conflicts of interest.

Trisha Kivisalu, Ph.D. Related seminars and products

Trisha M. Kivisalu, Ph.D., earned her Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from the California School of Professional Psychology at Alliant International University. She is currently a Registered Psychologist with the College of Psychologists of British Columbia and is a Nationally Registered Health Service Psychologist (#56258). She is a member of APA, CPA and the BC Psychological Association. Dr. Kivisalu has authored a number of meta-analytic studies examining reliability as it impacts psychologists in instrument selection, use and interpretation. She has presented on the topics of assessment/measurement, reliability, meta-analytic studies, teaching and training at local, national and international conferences across the US and Canada. She enjoys clinical practice, teaching/mentoring, supervision and research.

The speaker has indicated they do not have any conflicts of interest.

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