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Motivational Interviewing Training for Juvenile Correctional Staff in California: One Year Initial Outcomes

NCJ Number
Journal of Offender Rehabilitation Volume: 48 Issue: 7 Dated: October 2009 Pages: 635-648
Melinda Hohman; Neal Doran; Igor Koutsenok
Date Published
October 2009
14 pages
This study presents the initial results of a program designed to train 576 California Division of Juvenile Justice (DJJ) corrections staff in motivational interviewing (MI), which is a method of communication with clients that is person-centered, but strategically directive in eliciting from clients their own reasons and motivations for change.
The results of the first year of MI training indicate that DJJ trainees had significant gains in MI knowledge, attitudes, and skills; however, trainees who were older, female, and had more education tended to report greater motivation to use MI compared to other trainees. Skill gains were not related to tenure or position, which indicates that staff was responsive to new methods, despite job roles or length of time in their current positions. The findings show that it is possible to implement an intensive but relatively brief MI training program in a large institutional setting, even while many other training programs are ongoing. Mandating training for all staff produced benefits, but to maintain these benefits, follow-up observation and coaching must be conducted in order to maintain skill gains. The training involved a standard MI curriculum (Miller and Rollnick, 1991, 2002), with an orientation and examples geared to juvenile correctional work. The training format involved the imparting of conceptual information, demonstration, role-play, other direct skill practice, and coaching. The training lasted 3 days and was conducted by one or two experienced, certified MI trainers. The evaluation of the training measured trainees motivation to use MI in their work with DJJ youth, MI knowledge and attitudes before and after training, and trainees' input on MI responses for five vignettes that described interactions with juveniles. 1 figure, 6 tables, and 36 references