The relationship between baseline drinking status, peer motivational interviewing microskills, and drinking outcomes in a brief alcohol intervention for matriculating college students: a replication

Behav Ther. 2013 Mar;44(1):137-51. doi: 10.1016/j.beth.2012.09.002. Epub 2012 Sep 23.


The purpose of this study was to replicate and extend previous findings (Tollison et al., 2008) on the association between peer facilitator adherence to motivational interviewing (MI) microskills and college student drinking behavior. This study used a larger sample size, multiple follow-up time-points, and latent variable analyses allowing for more complex models to be tested in a sample with different characteristics than Tollison et al. Matriculating students who participated in high school sports (N=327) took part in a Brief Alcohol Screening and Intervention for College Students led by peer facilitators trained in motivational interviewing (MI). Participants were assessed pre- and immediately postintervention on contemplation to change, as well as pre-, 5months, and 10months postintervention on drinking quantity. Independent coders used the Motivational Interviewing Treatment Integrity scale (Moyers, Martin, Manuel, & Miller, 2003) to evaluate therapist MI adherence. Contrary to our previous study, results indicated that a higher number of open questions was positively related to increases in drinking, especially for heavier drinkers. Congruent with the previous study, more simple reflections was positively related to increases in drinking. Finally, this study revealed that heavier baseline drinking was associated with more simple reflections. There were no significant results found for changes in contemplation. Results corroborate previous findings that the excessive use of simple reflections may be indicative of countertherapeutic outcomes while raising questions about the relationship between the frequency of open questions and therapeutic outcomes.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Alcohol Drinking / prevention & control*
  • Alcohol Drinking / psychology
  • Alcohol-Related Disorders / prevention & control*
  • Alcohol-Related Disorders / psychology
  • Counseling
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Motivational Interviewing*
  • Peer Group
  • Psychotherapy, Brief
  • Students*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Universities
  • Young Adult