Motivational interviewing with adolescents and young adults for drug-related problems

Int J Adolesc Med Health. Jan-Mar 2006;18(1):53-67. doi: 10.1515/ijamh.2006.18.1.53.


This article reviews studies of brief motivational interviewing (MI) interventions applied to adolescents (ages 13 to 18 years) and young adults (ages 19 to 25 years) using alcohol or other psychoactive substances. An overview of the principles of MI is provided followed by a review of 17 clinical studies reported in the literature. This review revealed mixed findings for the efficacy of brief MI among these populations. However, in 29% of the studies (5 of 17), there was a clear advantage of the brief MI demonstrated compared to standard care or other programming. Components common to successful brief MI interventions included one-on-one sessions and feedback on substance use compared to norms. Interviewer empathy has been shown to be a key component in studies with adults, but this was not measured in a standardized manner across the current studies. The studies reviewed here indicate that brief MI might be effective among these populations, but the key components necessary for successful MI interventions have not been fully identified.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Interviews as Topic*
  • Male
  • Motivation*
  • Psychotherapy, Brief
  • Substance-Related Disorders*
  • United States