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Addict Behav. 2012 Jul;37(7):817-23. doi: 10.1016/j.addbeh.2012.03.011. Epub 2012 Mar 16.

Enhanced motivational interviewing versus brief advice for adolescent smoking cessation: results from a randomized clinical trial.

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Center for Alcohol and Addiction Studies, Brown University, Box G-S121, Providence, RI 02912, USA.



Motivational interviewing (MI) is widely used for adolescent smoking cessation but empirical support for this approach is mixed.


Adolescent cigarette smokers 14-18 years old (N=162) were recruited from medical, school, and community settings and randomly assigned to enhanced MI or brief advice (BA) for smoking cessation. MI comprised an in-person individual session, a telephone booster session one week later, and a brief telephone-based parent intervention. BA consisted of standardized brief advice to quit smoking. Assessments occurred at baseline, post-treatment and at 1-, 3-, and 6-month follow ups.


Biochemically-confirmed 7-day point prevalence abstinence rates were low (e.g., 4.5% for MI; 1.4% for BA at 1 month) and did not differ significantly by group at any follow up. Only those in MI reported significant decreases in cigarettes smoked per day (CPD) from baseline to 1 month. At 3 and 6 months, smokers in both groups reported significantly reduced CPD with no differences between groups. MI reduced perceived norms regarding peer and adult smoking rates, while BA had no effect on normative perceptions. No group differences emerged for self-reported motivation or self-efficacy to quit smoking.


Findings support the efficacy of MI for addressing normative misperceptions regarding peer and adult smoking and for modestly reducing CPD in the short-term; however, these effects did not translate to greater smoking abstinence. MI may have more promise as a prelude to more intensive smoking intervention with adolescents than as a stand-alone intervention.

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