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Psychol Addict Behav. 2009 Mar;23(1):122-30. doi: 10.1037/a0013010.

Strength of commitment language in motivational interviewing and gambling outcomes.

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  • 1Psychology Department, University of Calgary, Calgary, Alberta, Canada.


The purpose of the present study was to examine the mechanisms by which the motivational interview (MI) is an effective treatment for pathological gambling. Forty MIs with pathological gamblers were transcribed and coded for language content and strength of expression. As hypothesized, participants who expressed stronger commitment to change their gambling behavior during the MI exhibited better gambling outcomes over 12 months than did those who expressed weaker commitment or no commitment to change their gambling behavior during the MI. Contrary to expectation, commitment strength in the latter part of the MI was not a stronger predictor of gambling outcome. Expression of desire, ability, need, reasons, and readiness for change were not predictive of outcome. Ability and readiness were associated with commitment. This study has important implications for clinical monitoring of client treatment success and for improving the MI. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2009 APA, all rights reserved).

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