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Date of this Version



Drug and Alcohol Dependence 115 (2011) 113–119; doi:10.1016/j.drugalcdep.2010.11.006


Motivational Interviewing (MI) has successfully been used to facilitate entry and compliance in drug and alcohol treatment programs. Some questions have been raised as to the effectiveness of MI in severely distressed populations. This study aims to assess the effectiveness of MI in a population of homeless, unemployed, and substance dependent veterans who are being wait-listed for entry into a residential treatment program. Seventy-five veterans placed on a wait-list were randomized to receive a single MI or standard (Std) intake interview. Outcomes assessed were entry, and length of stay (LOS). Secondary outcomes assessed included program completion and rates of graduation. Readiness to change and selfefficacy were assessed before and after the interview. Significantly more participants entered the program in the MI group (95%) than in the Std group (71%). Although those in the MI group remained in the program longer, and had higher program completion and graduation rates, these differences were not statistically significant. No significant between-group or within-group differences were found in readiness or selfefficacy. This study demonstrates that a single, easily administered intervention can increase program entry. Also based on the study findings, further research into the question of whether MI can increase program retention, in a severely distressed population, is warranted.

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