Academic Psychiatry

, Volume 35, Issue 1, pp 51–53 | Cite as

Teaching Motivational Interviewing Skills to Third-Year Psychiatry Clerkship Students

  • Brenda RomanEmail author
  • Nicole Borges
  • Ann K. Morrison
Brief Report



Despite a large percentage of health care costs being related to smoking, obesity, and substance abuse, most physicians are not confident in motivating patients to change health behaviors. Motivational interviewing (MI) is a directive, patient-centered approach for eliciting behavior change. The purpose of this study was to teach students MI skills and assess their confidence and knowledge during the psychiatry clerkship using smoking cessation as the target behavior.


Using a pretest/posttest design, 98 students were given a 10-item questionnaire during the psychiatry clerkship to assess their knowledge and confidence in health behavior change. Students received a 3-hour presentation on the principles of MI and practiced skills through role play. Students were encouraged to utilize these skills with patients.


Paired t tests results showed significant differences pre- and postclerkship for nine of the 10 items, including the student’s confidence in working with patients in the area of smoking cessation.


Students can gain basic knowledge and increased confidence in working with patients for promoting behavioral change, even with a brief session, taught by nonexperts in motivational interviewing theory.


Medical Student Smoking Cessation Motivational Interview Academic Psychiatry Standardize Patient 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Academic Psychiatry 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychiatryWright State University Boonshoft School of MedicineDayton
  2. 2.Department of Community HealthWright State University Boonshoft School of MedicineDayton

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