Randomized controlled trial of motivational enhancement therapy with nontreatment-seeking adolescent cannabis users: a further test of the teen marijuana check-up

Psychol Addict Behav. 2011 Sep;25(3):474-84. doi: 10.1037/a0024076.


Cannabis use adversely affects adolescents and interventions that are attractive to adolescents are needed. This trial compared the effects of a brief motivational intervention for cannabis use with a brief educational feedback control and a no-assessment control. Participants were randomized into one of three treatment conditions: Motivational Enhancement Therapy (MET), Educational Feedback Control (EFC), or Delayed Feedback Control (DFC). Those who were assigned to MET and EFC were administered a computerized baseline assessment immediately following randomization and completed assessments at the 3- and 12-month follow-up periods. Participants in the DFC condition were not assessed until the 3-month follow-up. Following the completion of treatment sessions, all participants were offered up to four optional individual treatment sessions aimed at cessation of cannabis use. The research was conducted in high schools in Seattle, Washington. The participant s included 310 self-referred adolescents who smoked cannabis regularly. The main outcome measures included days of cannabis use, associated negative consequences, and engagement in additional treatment. At the 3-month follow-up, participants in both the MET and EFC conditions reported significantly fewer days of cannabis use and negative consequences compared to those in the DFC. The frequency of cannabis use was less in MET relative to EFC at 3 months, but it did not translate to differences in negative consequences. Reductions in use and problems were sustained at 12 months, but there were no differences between MET and EFC interventions. Engagement in additional treatment was minimal and did not differ by condition. Brief interventions can attract adolescent cannabis users and have positive impacts on them, but the mechanisms of the effects are yet to be identified.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Behavior Therapy / methods*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Interview, Psychological
  • Male
  • Marijuana Abuse / psychology
  • Marijuana Abuse / therapy*
  • Marijuana Smoking / psychology
  • Marijuana Smoking / therapy*
  • Motivation*
  • Psychotherapy, Brief / methods*
  • Treatment Outcome