The Language Content of Computer-Mediated Versus Face-to-Face Motivational Type Interviews

Karla Deyanira Llanes, University of Texas at El Paso


Motivational Interviewing (MI) is an extensively used technique to facilitate behavior change by increasing a person’s own motivation and commitment toward change. Recently, several innovative and effective ways to conduct motivational interviews have emerged. However, one potential option has not been investigated: the utility of conducting a motivational interview via computer. The current study begins to address this gap in knowledge by comparing the language content of computer-mediated motivational-type interviews and face-to-face motivational-type interviews. The motivational-type interviews were conducted with young adults who reported ambivalence about their level of recreational marijuana use. Specifically, non-marijuana users, occasional marijuana users, and frequent marijuana users were recruited to discuss their ambivalence regarding their level of marijuana use. One-hundred and fifty young adults from a large urban university were randomly assigned to receive either a computer-mediated motivational-type interview (CM-MTI) or a face-to-face motivational-type interview (FTF-MTI). A two-month follow-up survey assessed their marijuana use during the two-months following the MI-type interviews. Transcripts were scored for sustain talk and change talk using Amrhein’s (2003) coding system. Word count and the number of independent language units were higher in FTF-MTIs than CM-MTIs. FTF-MTIs took less time to administer than CM-MTIs. FTF-MTIs and CM-MTIs did not differ significantly in the proportion and average strength of sustain talk and change talk. Future studies should investigate if FTF-MTIs and CM-MTIs differ in drug-related content and affect-related content.

Subject Area

Psychology|Behavioral Sciences|Counseling Psychology

Recommended Citation

Llanes, Karla Deyanira, "The Language Content of Computer-Mediated Versus Face-to-Face Motivational Type Interviews" (2019). ETD Collection for University of Texas, El Paso. AAI22617086.