Brief motivational interviewing as a clinical strategy to promote asthma medication adherence

J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2007 Nov;120(5):1023-30. doi: 10.1016/j.jaci.2007.08.017. Epub 2007 Sep 29.


Patient-centered approaches are associated with better patient retention and treatment outcomes, without increased time and cost. Motivational interviewing (MI) is a patient-centered counseling approach that can be briefly integrated into patient encounters and is specifically designed to enhance motivation to change among patients not ready to change. Existing asthma management approaches (eg, education and self-management) increase resistance among patients not ready or willing to follow medical recommendations. MI helps patients resolve their ambivalence about behavior change and builds their intrinsic motivation before providing education. Although MI overlaps with patient-centered communication, it additionally includes some concrete motivational strategies that can be briefly and easily implemented in medical settings (eg, setting an agenda, assessing motivation and confidence for change, helping the patient weigh the costs and benefits of change, and providing medical advice and health feedback). Reflective listening is used to help patients clarify their ambivalence and diffuse resistance. MI has been shown to be efficacious across a wide variety of health behavior change areas. This article will describe the method and spirit of MI as applied to asthma management by reviewing the principles of MI, brief MI strategies to motivate medication adherence, the evidence base for MI, and the costs and benefits of building MI into clinical practice.

MeSH terms

  • Asthma / drug therapy*
  • Asthma / psychology*
  • Counseling
  • Humans
  • Interview, Psychological / methods*
  • Patient Compliance / psychology*