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Subst Abus. 2009 Jul-Sep;30(3):244-7. doi: 10.1080/08897070903041210.

Motivational enhancement therapy to increase resident physician engagement in substance abuse education.

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Department of Psychiatry and Neurobehavioral Sciences, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, Virginia 23294, USA.


Rates of screening, brief intervention, and referral to treatment (SBIRT) for alcohol and drug use by physicians remain low, despite evidence of efficacy. Motivational enhancement therapy (MET) may be a promising means to help physicians resolve ambivalence about intervening with alcohol and drug users and take advantage of educational opportunities. In the present study, 9 internal medicine residents received brief MET prior to standard education in SBIRT. Residents' self-reported SBIRT attitudes and behaviors were measured before the intervention and at a 5-week follow-up point. Changes in SBIRT attitudes and behaviors all occurred in the expected direction, although, due to the small sample size, none reached statistical significance. Results suggest that MET may enhance educational opportunities and lead to changes in SBIRT behavior.

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