Motivational Interviewing Training of Substance Use Treatment Professionals: A Systematic Review

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Background: Through evaluations of training programs, systematic reviews, and meta-analyses, advances in identifying best practices for disseminating motivational interviewing (MI) have emerged. To advance this work further, inclusion of thorough descriptions of the following is needed in research publications: study (design, trainee characteristics, setting characteristics), training and coaching methods (if applicable), trainer qualifications, and evaluation of MI skills.

Methods: The purpose of this study was to systematically evaluate the research on MI training of substance use treatment professionals for the inclusion of such descriptions. Twenty-five studies were reviewed using a scoring rubric developed by the authors.

Results: Just over two-thirds of the studies (68%) were randomized controlled trials of MI training. The majority of studies provided information about: a) trainee characteristics (professional background = 76%, education = 60%, experience = 56%); b) setting characteristics (80%); c) training methods (format = 96%, length = 92%); d) coaching (76%); and e) evaluation of MI skills (92%).

Conclusion: Findings suggest advancements in MI training studies since previous reviews, especially in regards to the inclusion of feedback and coaching. However, this review also found that inconsistencies in methods and reporting of training characteristics, as well as limited follow-up assessment of trainee skill continue to limit knowledge of effective training methods.

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Substance Abuse