UBC Community, Partners, and Alumni Publications

Do motivational interviewing behaviors predict reductions in partner aggression for men and women? Woodin, Erica M.; Sotskova, Alina; O’Leary, K. Daniel


Motivational interviewing is a directive, non-confrontational intervention to promote behavior change. The current study examined therapist behaviors during a successful brief motivational interviewing intervention for physically aggressive college dating couples (Woodin & O’Leary, 2010). Forty-five minute motivational interviews with each partner were videotaped and coded using the Motivational Interviewing Treatment Integrity scale (MITI; Moyers, Martin, Manuel, & Miller, 2003). Hierarchical modeling analyses demonstrated that therapist behaviors consistent with motivational interviewing competency predicted significantly greater reductions in physical aggression perpetration following the intervention. Specifically, greater reflection to question ratios by the therapists predicted reductions in aggression for both men and women, greater percentages of open versus closed questions predicted aggression reductions for women, and there was a trend for greater levels of global therapist empathy to predict aggression reductions for women. These findings provide evidence that motivational interviewing seems to have an effect on behavior change through therapist behaviors consistent with the theoretical underpinnings of motivational interviewing.

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