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Behav Ther. 2008 Jun;39(2):183-94. doi: 10.1016/j.beth.2007.07.001. Epub 2007 Nov 26.

Questions and reflections: the use of motivational interviewing microskills in a peer-led brief alcohol intervention for college students.

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University of Washington, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Seattle, WA 98105-6099, USA.


The purpose of this study was to examine the association between peer facilitator adherence to motivational interviewing (MI) microskills and college student drinking behavior. First year students (N=67) took part in a Brief Alcohol Screening and Intervention for College Students (BASICS) led by peer facilitators trained in MI and BASICS. Participants were assessed pre- and 2 weeks post-intervention on contemplation to change, as well as, pre- and 3 months post- intervention on drinking quantity. Independent coders used the Motivational Interviewing Treatment Integrity scale (MITI, Moyers, Martin, Manuel, & Miller, 2003) to evaluate therapist MI adherence. Peer facilitators met beginning proficiency in MI on scores of empathy, the ratio of MI adherent behaviors to non-adherent behaviors and the ratio of open questions to total questions as defined by the MITI. Results indicated that a higher number of closed questions was related to less contemplation and a higher number of open questions was related to more contemplation post intervention. A higher number of simple reflections was associated with increased drinking at the 3 month assessment, however, complex reflections were found to attenuate the effect of simple reflections on changes in drinking. These findings highlight the importance of competent reflective listening skills and the need for continual training and supervision for peer facilitators.

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