Psychology ETDs


Lisa Glynn

Publication Date



Change talk' refers to client statements in favor of changing a particular target behavior. In individual motivational interviewing (MI) psychotherapy sessions, change talk is a predictor of eventual change for a variety of target behaviors. Growing evidence points to change talk as a potential causal mechanism of that treatment, but it remains unclear whether it might underlie the efficacy of group-delivered MI as well. Group-delivered MI and its adaptations have been employed widely across treatment settings and target behaviors; however, such groups are relatively unstudied, they have varied considerably in their elements and delivery, and their outcomes have shown mixed results. Identifying and implementing the active ingredients of group-delivered MI interventions could increase treatment efficiency. This study sought to understand whether change talk, in combination with other theoretically relevant variables, might explain the efficacy of a group Motivational Enhancement Therapy (gMET) intervention known to be associated with reductions in risky sex behaviors. A secondary analysis of audio-recordings from Project MARS captured the in-session language of a diverse sample of 200 detained adolescents within 58 gMET interventions, which was reduced to 45 participants within 27 groups after exclusions. Recordings were sequentially coded for change talk and other client and clinician behaviors using an adaptation of the MISC 2.5 coding system and CACTI software. Multiple regression analyses used group-level change talk, client sex, and baseline questionnaire scores to predict clients' individual and group-averaged safer-sex behaviors at three-month follow-up. Safer-sex behaviors were measured by two composite variables of items from the Sexual History Questionnaire (Risky Sex Index and Safer Sex). Three of four full models were statistically significant, but only baseline questionnaire scores were significant predictors of those three-month scores and not change talk or client sex. Possible interpretations are offered, and future directions are discussed.

Degree Name


Level of Degree


Department Name


First Committee Member (Chair)

McCrady, Barbara

Second Committee Member

Bryan, Angela

Third Committee Member

Selig, James




group, safer sex, change talk, motivational interviewing, Motivational Enhancement Therapy, adolescent, incarcerated

Document Type