Category: Criminal Justice / Forensics

Symposium

The Response Style Questionnaire: Motivational Interviewing Skills in Criminal Justice Practitioners

Sunday, November 19
10:15 AM - 11:45 AM
Location: Sapphire Ballroom I & J, Level 4, Sapphire Level

Keywords: Criminal Justice | Assessment | Therapeutic Alliance
Presentation Type: Symposium

As practices such as Motivational Interviewing (MI) are finding their way into criminal justice agencies/programs, there is an increasing emphasis on training.  The Response Style Questionnaire (RSQ) is a new instrument to assess practitioner styles that can aid in measuring the impact of MI training initiatives.  Study 1: Five vignettes that describe a comment made by a justice-involved client were developed.  Each vignette is followed by 5 different practitioner responses, each reflecting a different style of interaction (e.g., becoming confrontational, asking follow-up questions, evoking change talk).  Practitioners rate their likelihood of using each responses on a 4 point Likert scale. 810 criminal justice practitioners (e.g., case managers) attending MI training workshops as part of their ongoing professional development completed the RSQ.  Exploratory factor analysis with an oblique rotation yielded 23 items loading >.30 on four factors.  Factor 1 (Confrontation/Resistance) reflected a response style likely to increase client resistance and decrease further disclosure.  Factor 2 (Eliciting) responses were exploratory open-ended questions eliciting more information on the topic at hand.  Factor 3 (Sustain Talk) responses reinforced a client’s helplessness to change destructive patterns.  Factor 4 (Change Talk) revealed a response style that enhanced motivation for change, consistent with higher-level MI skills.  Study 2: A confirmatory factor analysis was conducted with 300 probation officers (POs) who completed the RSQ and other measures of PO orientation and attitudes.  One, four, and five factor models were tested, with the 4 factor model of Study 1 yielding the best fit.  Factor alphas ranged from .76 to .58. Confrontation/Resistance scores were correlated with an orientation of probation as primarily a law enforcement endeavor.  Eliciting scores were correlated with a behavior change and a resource broker orientation, with scores on Change Talk even more strongly correlated with these two orientations (all p’s < .001). Results suggest the RSQ captures response styles relevant to MI, and are related to how POs approach their work with clients.




 

Damon Mitchell

Professor of Criminology and Criminal Justice
Central Connecticut State University

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