CTN-0005: MI (Motivational Interviewing) to Improve Treatment Engagement and Outcome in Subjects Seeking Treatment for Substance Abuse

Kathleen Carroll, PhD
Lead Investigator
Department of Psychiatry
VA CT Healthcare Center (151D)

A considerable body of research has shown strong support for the usefulness of motivational interventions in initiating treatment and in reducing use of alcohol, cigarettes, and abused drugs.  This study examined the effectiveness of integrating Motivational Interviewing (MI) techniques into the initial contact and evaluation session for substance users entering outpatient treatment across five community-based treatment settings.  Clients were randomized to receive either the standard intake/evaluation session at each site, or an intake session in which MI techniques and strategies were integrated. 

Primary Findings

Participants assigned to MI had significantly better retention — a key component of success — through the 28-day follow-up than those assigned to the standard intervention.  There were no significant effects of MI on substance use outcomes at either the 28-day or 84-day follow-up.  Results suggest that community-based clinicians can effectively implement MI when provided training and supervision, and that integrating MI techniques in the earliest phases of treatment may have positive effects on retention early in the course of treatment.

Primary Outcomes Article: Carroll K, et al. Motivational interviewing to improve treatment engagement and outcome in individuals seeking treatment for substance abuse: A multisite effectiveness study. Drug and Alcohol Dependence 2006;81:301-312. [get article]

    Node Involvement

    Lead Node(s):

  • New England Consortium Node

  • All Participating Nodes:

  • Mid-Atlantic Node
  • New England Consortium Node
  • Western States Node