A systematic review of motivational interviewing within musculoskeletal health

Psychol Health Med. 2012;17(4):392-407. doi: 10.1080/13548506.2011.635661. Epub 2012 Mar 7.


Motivational interviewing (MI) has been investigated within a range of healthcare environments though to date no studies have systematically assessed its application and effectiveness within musculoskeletal health. The aim of this study is to identify interventions that have utilised MI to create change within musculoskeletal healthcare, evaluate quality and effectiveness, as well as identify the level of training received by those utilising the approach. The search strategy identified both published and unpublished or grey literature through electronic resources, reference list and content searches. Five studies were identified for quality assessment. Due to variations in delivery modality, musculoskeletal condition and type of MI application it was not possible to provide direct comparative interpretations for these factors. A data synthesis was used to provide a summary of study characteristics, a narrative overview and conduct a quality assessment as well as considering authors comments on study limitations. The results of the quality assessment highlighted a number of methodological issues which supported and expanded upon those expressed by the studies authors. None of the studies contained children or young people and in terms of training there were variations in training provider, duration and competency, as well as variation in the fidelity of MI. The findings have highlighted the need for well designed randomised controlled trials that are suitability powered to measure the effectiveness of MI within musculoskeletal health. Future studies may consider the application of MI within musculoskeletal conditions in terms of self-management and its application to creating lifestyle changes (e.g., diet, exercise) for adults, as well as children and young people. Research currently being conducted may expand upon the evidence, feasibility and validity of MI within areas such as fibromyalgia, osteoporosis, arthritis, understanding of knee replacement and rehabilitation.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Clinical Competence
  • Databases, Bibliographic
  • Directive Counseling / methods*
  • Humans
  • Inservice Training
  • Interviews as Topic*
  • Motivation*
  • Musculoskeletal Diseases / therapy*
  • Outcome and Process Assessment, Health Care*
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic
  • Self Care