An Investigation of In-Session Client Change Language and Stage of Change

Reyna Patricia Puentes, University of Texas at El Paso


In the practice of Motivational Interviewing, recognizing language is important for understanding where a persona stands in terms of readiness to change when considering a behavior change, such as risky alcohol use. Few studies have examined relationships between language expressed in a BMI and survey measures of stage of readiness to change. The purpose of the present study was to evaluate the types of client language in a single BMI session and associations with stage of change among a sample of emergency room/trauma department patients screened for positive BAC and/or risky alcohol use (n = 196). Using structural equation modeling, a confirmatory factor analysis found support for two categories of client language: language in the direction of change (Change Talk [CT]) and language in the direction away from change (Sustain Talk [ST]). Model estimations found less than adequate model fit, and comparisons of client language between the precontemplation, contemplation and action stages of change demonstrated mixed support for the proposed relationships. Results from this study corroborate existing evidence of language expressed in both directions of change (i.e., ambivalence), and inform differences in language expressed by people in the various stages of change. The implications of the present findings in understanding client language during a BMI as an indicator for stage of change are discussed.

Subject Area

Psychology|Clinical psychology

Recommended Citation

Puentes, Reyna Patricia, "An Investigation of In-Session Client Change Language and Stage of Change" (2017). ETD Collection for University of Texas, El Paso. AAI10689411.