The influence of counselor characteristics on use of motivational interviewing : an exploratory study of evidence-based practices implementation
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Preliminary research exists indicating the importance of counselor attitudes and organizational features as influencing use of evidence-based practices (EBPs). Conceptual models of evidence-based practice implementation posit relationships among factors theoretically associated with use of an EBP, yet little research exists that explores how a constellation of counselor characteristics relate to counselors’ use of evidence-based practices. Research is also lacking on the role of counselor characteristics in use of motivational interviewing, a specific evidence-based practice. In addition to identifying counselor characteristics associated with use of MI, this study explores how counselor characteristics directly and indirectly affect implementation relationships for MI. The study sample comes from a larger study testing how organizational facilitation influences outpatient substance abuse counselors’ use of MI, and client outcomes. Multiple regression was used to explore the contribution of counselor characteristics (amount of MI training, MI skill level, motivation to use MI, supportive attitudes toward MI, perception of organizational climate and MI skill level) on reported use of MI. Analyses with each dependent variable had different sample sizes: N=76 for relationships tested between counselor characteristics and use of MI and N=46 for relationships tested between counselor characteristics and MI skill level. Results suggest that among these characteristics, supportive attitudes related to MI and motivation to use MI significantly contribute to counselors’ use of MI with clients. Further, supportive attitudes related to MI and motivation to use MI each partially mediates the relationship between amount of MI training and counselor use of MI. But, findings are tempered by a sample comprised of relatively low levels of training and low MI skill level. Despite having very little training, and low skill levels, high usage of MI was reported by counselors. More empirical research utilizing larger samples with higher training levels is needed to better understand how counselor characteristics may affect EBPs implementation in order to promote the effective use of evidence-based practices.