The efficacy of motivational interviewing versus brief advice for adolescent smoking behavior change

Pediatrics. 2011 Jul;128(1):e101-11. doi: 10.1542/peds.2010-2174. Epub 2011 Jun 20.


Objective: In this study we sought to evaluate the efficacy of motivational interviewing (MI) compared with structured brief advice (SBA) for adolescent smoking behavior change.

Methods: Participants (N=355) were randomly assigned to 5 sessions of either MI or SBA. The primary outcomes were attempts to reduce and to quit smoking, smoking reduction, and cotinine-validated 7-day point-prevalence smoking abstinence at the end of treatment (week 12) and the 24-week follow-up.

Results: White adolescents were ∼80% less likely to attempt to cut back (odds ratio [OR]: 0.21; confidence interval [CI]: 0.08-0.53) and >80% less likely to attempt to quit smoking compared with black adolescents (OR: 0.17 [CI: 0.06-0.46]). Adolescents who were at least planning to cut back or quit smoking at baseline were almost 3 times more likely to attempt to cut back (OR: 2.87 [CI: 1.26-6.52]) and to attempt to quit smoking (OR: 3.13 [CI: 1.19-8.26]). Adolescents who received MI were ∼60% less likely than adolescents who received SBA to try to quit smoking (OR: 0.41 [CI: 0.17-0.97]). However, adolescents who received MI showed a greater reduction in cigarettes smoked per day than adolescents who received SBA (5.3 vs 3.3 fewer cigarettes per day). There were no statistically significant differences between MI and SBA in smoking abstinence (5.7% vs 5.6%, respectively).

Conclusions: The effects of MI on adolescent smoking behavior change are modest, and MI may best fit within a multicomponent smoking cessation treatment approach in which behavior change skills can support and promote smoking behavior change decisions.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Directive Counseling*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Interviews as Topic*
  • Male
  • Motivation*
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Smoking Cessation / methods*
  • Smoking Cessation / psychology*