Category: Dissemination / Implementation


Disseminating Motivational Interviewing in the School Setting

Sunday, November 19
10:15 AM - 11:45 AM
Location: Aqua Salon C & D, Level 3, Aqua Level

Keywords: Motivational Interviewing | School | Dissemination
Presentation Type: Symposium

Background: Multiple studies have demonstrated the promise of school-based motivational interviewing (SBMI) to improve adolescent student outcomes (Strait et al., 2011; Terry et al., 2014). However, researchers have yet to fully understand which school-based personnel (e.g., volunteers, school counselors, school psychologists) should implement MI-based interventions. To maximize the number of SBMI providers, some researchers have suggested training paraprofessionals to implement SBMI (Simon & Ward, 2014). This approach is known as task diffusion (Kazdin & Rabbitt, 2013). Services typically provided by highly trained professionals are provided by people with less training. Though task diffusion is an efficient service delivery model, it is important that services are within the paraprofessionals’ zone of competency (Kazdin & Rabbitt, 2013). Therefore, in this presentation, we will discuss a quasi-experimental study on the direct effects of two types of paraprofessional SBMI providers (undergraduates vs. school and clinical psychology graduate students) on middle school students’ school performance. Results: Middle school students (n = 50) interviewed by psychology graduate students had significantly higher post-treatment grades in math (d = .38), English language arts (d = .77), science (d = .45), and overall grade averages (d = .74) in comparison to middle school students interviewed by undergraduates. In addition, graduate students conducted significantly longer treatment sessions, β = 8.45, t (86) = 3.71, p < .001, which mediated the effect of service provider type on math grades, β = .30, t (79) = 3.389, p < .01. We found no other differences in treatment fidelity between service providers. In general, these results indicate that paraprofessionals likely need some advanced educational background in mental health to use SBMI to improve student grade outcomes. We conclude this presentation with a discussion of ways to improve future measurements of fidelity and MI training for paraprofessionals.

Gerald Strait

University of Houston – Clear Lake


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Disseminating Motivational Interviewing in the School Setting

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