Teaching brief motivational interviewing to medical students using a pedagogical framework

Elizabeth J. Edwards*, Bharti Arora, Patricia Green, Amy J. Bannatyne, Tracy Nielson

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Objective: Medical schools are charged with assisting medical students to acquire the confidence, knowledge and skills for behavior change conversations in primary healthcare. The present study evaluated teaching brief motivational interviewing (MI) to pre-clinical medical students. 

Methods: Forty-six students participated in an educational intervention premised on the Learn, See, Practice, Prove, Do, Maintain pedagogical framework, comprising 2 × 2-h lectures, a 2-h role-play triad session, and 3 × 2-h small group simulated patient encounters supported by scaffolding strategies. Measures of brief MI knowledge (MI Knowledge and Attitudes Test & Multiple-Choice Knowledge Test) and confidence (MI Confidence Scale) were taken at baseline, post-training, and 3-month follow-up, and skills (Behavior Change Counseling Index) were assessed at three intervals during simulated patient encounters. 

Results: Students who received brief MI training improved in knowledge and confidence from baseline to post-training and gains remained at 3-months. Brief MI skills improved across the simulation sessions. 

Conclusion: Pre-clinical medical students can attain knowledge, confidence and skills in brief MI after participation in a short intervention and improvements are sustainable. 

Practice implications: Our results support the use of an evidence-based pedagogical framework for teaching brief MI in pre-clinical years of medical curricula and our scaffolding strategy affords promise.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2315-2319
Number of pages5
JournalPatient Education and Counseling
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2022


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