Technology-delivered adaptations of motivational interviewing for health-related behaviors: A systematic review of the current research

Patient Educ Couns. 2016 Jan;99(1):17-35. doi: 10.1016/j.pec.2015.08.005. Epub 2015 Aug 6.


Objectives: The aims of this paper were to describe and evaluate the methods and efficacy of technology-delivered motivational interviewing interventions (TAMIs), discuss the challenges and opportunities of TAMIs, and provide a framework for future research.

Methods: We reviewed studies that reported using motivational interviewing (MI) based components delivered via technology and conducted ratings on technology description, comprehensiveness of MI, and study methods.

Results: The majority of studies were fully-automated and included at least one form of media rich technology to deliver the TAMI. Few studies provided complete descriptions of how MI components were delivered via technology. Of the studies that isolated the TAMI effects, positive changes were reported.

Conclusion: Researchers have used a range of technologies to deliver TAMIs suggesting feasibility of these methods. However, there are limited data regarding their efficacy, and strategies to deliver relational components remain a challenge. Future research should better characterize the components of TAMIs, empirically test the efficacy of TAMIs with randomized controlled trials, and incorporate fidelity measures.

Practice implications: TAMIs are feasible to implement and well accepted. These approaches offer considerable potential to reduce costs, minimize therapist and training burden, and expand the range of clients that may benefit from adaptations of MI.

Keywords: Motivational interviewing; Technology; Telehealth.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Behavior Therapy / methods*
  • Health Behavior*
  • Humans
  • Motivational Interviewing / methods*
  • Patient-Centered Care / methods*
  • Telemedicine*