A Randomized Pilot Study Comparing the Efficacy of a Therapist-Delivered Motivational Interview to a Brief Computer-Delivered Intervention

Lynn Hernandez, Mary Kathryn Cancilliere, Hannah Graves, Anthony Spirito


Aims: The purpose of this study was to compare the preliminary efficacy of a computer-assisted intervention (CAI), in which a computer-delivered intervention was immediately followed up with a brief therapist review session, to a therapist-delivered intervention (TDI) for adolescent substance use.
Design, Setting, and Participants: Both conditions were examined in a pilot randomized clinical trial. All participants were recruited from a family court in the northeast United States. The sample included a total of 36 adolescents court-referred for an adolescent substance-related offense.
Measures: Measures included adolescent alcohol and marijuana-use frequency, quantity, and problems as well as self-efficacy to resist the urge to use.
Findings: While no significant time-by-condition differences were noted between the CAI and TDI conditions, significant time effects were found for both the TDI and CAI indicating a decrease in the total number of alcohol- or marijuana-use days over the six-month follow-up period.
Conclusions: Given that CAIs are inexpensive, require minimal training, can be implemented with a high degree of fidelity, and are portable when compared to some TDIs, their use for decreasing substance use and related problems, particularly among adolescents with low access to substance-use interventions, seems promising. A fully powered trial of CAI efficacy is indicated.


Adolescents; substance use; brief interventions; electronic interventions

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7895/ijadr.256


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