Investigating the motivational interviewing techniques and behaviour change techniques in physical activity counselling sessions: Preliminary results


Over the past 20 years, there has been a wealth of research on the implementation and evaluation of physical activity promoting interventions (Kahn et al., 2002). Among these is Physical Activity Counselling (PAC), an individual, face-to-face intervention that uses a Motivational Interviewing (MI) counselling style and other behaviour change techniques for eliciting physical activity behaviour change (Fortier et al., 2007; Fortier, William, et al., 2011). Recently, the Behaviour Change Technique Taxonomy version 1 (BCTTv1) was developed to provide an agreed and standard method of describing intervention content (Michie et al., 2013). Given the poor representation of MI in the BCTTv1 and its proven effectiveness for changing health behaviours (Lundahl et al., 2013), a recent conceptual review was conducted to identify relational and content techniques specific to MI (Hardcastle, Fortier, Blake, & Hagger, 2016). Therefore, the purpose of this study is to identify and quantify the specific BCTs and MI techniques applied during PAC sessions. Videotaped recordings of six PAC sessions were analyzed. Results indicated that the most utilized BCTs include 3.1 Social support (unspecified) (k=6), 1.1 Goal setting (behaviour) (k=4) and 1.2 Problem Solving (k=3). The most utilized relational techniques of MI include Open-ended questions (k=6), Affirmation (k=6), Reflective statements (k=6), Summary statements (k=6) and Permission to provide information and advice (k=5), whereas Consider change options (k=4) and Values exploration (k=3) were the content techniques of MI most frequently used. These preliminary findings shed light on the techniques applied and the relational-content interplay during PAC.