Previous research has supported the link between client language in favor of change (change talk) during Motivational Interviewing sessions and subsequent substance use outcomes. The present study investigated whether the frequency of change talk can be increased using a pre-treatment priming paradigm. Eighty six current cigarette smokers were randomized into one of three priming manipulations: change talk, sustain talk, or a neutral condition. After completing a version of the Scrambled-Sentence test (change, sustain, or neutral) intended to prime or suppress change talk, participants engaged in a pseudo-therapeutic encounter with a research assistant who asked them a series of open-ended questions about their smoking behavior. These sessions were audio recorded and coded for instances of change and sustain talk. Nicotine dependence and ambivalence toward smoking were assessed using self-report questionnaires. Results indicated that the three groups did not differ in the proportion of speech they gave in favor of changing their smoking, even after controlling for ambivalence and dependence. Strengths and weaknesses of the priming manipulation and study design are discussed.
Level of Degree
First Committee Member (Chair)
Second Committee Member
Motivational interviewing, Change (Psychology)
McLouth, Christopher. "Priming change talk : the experimental manipulation of client speech." (2013). https://digitalrepository.unm.edu/psy_etds/95