Brief Motivational Interviewing and Normative Feedback for Adolescents: Change Language and Alcohol Use Outcomes

J Subst Abuse Treat. 2016 Jun;65:66-73. doi: 10.1016/j.jsat.2015.10.004. Epub 2015 Nov 19.


Few studies have investigated the impact of adolescent change language on substance use treatment outcomes and even fewer have examined how adolescents respond to normative feedback. The purpose of this study was to understand the influence normative feedback has on adolescent change language and subsequent alcohol and cannabis use 3months later. We examined how percent change talk (PCT) was associated with subsequent alcohol and drug use outcomes. Adolescents (N=48) were randomly assigned to receive brief motivational interviewing (MI) or MI plus normative feedback (NF). Audio recordings were coded with high interrater reliability. Adolescents with high PCT who received MI+NF had significantly fewer days of alcohol and binge drinking at follow up. There were no differences between groups on cannabis use or treatment engagement. Findings indicate that NF may be useful for adolescents with higher amount of change talk during sessions and may be detrimental for individuals with higher sustain talk.

Keywords: Adolescents; Alcohol treatment; Cannabis use; Change talk; Motivational interviewing.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adolescent Behavior / psychology*
  • Alcohol Drinking / therapy*
  • Feedback, Psychological*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Marijuana Smoking / therapy
  • Motivation
  • Motivational Interviewing / methods*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Treatment Outcome