How long do motivational interviewing skills last? Evaluation of the sustainability of mi skills in newly trained counsellors in a diabetes prevention program


Objective: Motivational Interviewing (MI)-based counselling has demonstrated effectiveness for changing lifestyle behaviours. The fidelity of MI skills over time has received less attention in health care research. The objective of this study is to examine the MI skills of newly trained counsellors delivering a diabetes prevention program up to 6-months after their initial training. Methods: MI skills are being monitored monthly, starting immediately post-MI skills training to 6-months post-training. The Motivational Interviewing Competency Assessment (MICA) was used to code audio recordings of the interaction between counsellors and clients. Overall MI-competency is defined as MICA ? 8/10. MICA further breaks down MI skills into seven categories, with MICA ? 3/5 for each category considered client-centered counselling. Two independent coders coded one randomly selected session for each counsellor each month. An MI-competency score was generated by averaging the MICA scores for each month until 6-months post-training. Results: The counsellors were 24±3 years of age, 83% female, and 50% had less than a bachelor degree. Mean MI-competency post-training were: 5.89±0.93 at 1-month, 6.32±0.94 at 2-months, and 6.84±0.38 at 3-months. Data collection is ongoing, with 6-month data being completed in September 2018. The majority (68%) of all coded sessions met the cut-off for client-centered counselling for all 7 MICA categories. Conclusion: It is imperative that the skills of newly trained counsellors are continuously monitored post-training to ensure optimal client-centered care is applied in community settings. Results of this study will provide recommendations for training counsellors in real-world settings.

Acknowledgments: This work was supported by a CIHR Foundation Grant (#333266) and a Michael Smith Foundation Health Research Scholar Award (#5917). We would like to thank the Centre for Collaboration, Motivation and Innovation for their expertise and support from the Ministry of Health.