Motivational interviewing for smoking cessation: an update
Motivational Interviewing (MI) is a directive patient-centred style of counselling, designed to help people to explore and resolve ambivalence about behaviour change. It was developed as a treatment for alcohol abuse, but may help people to a make a successful attempt to quit smoking. The aim of our work was to determine whether or not MI promotes smoking cessation.
We carried out a systematic Cochrane review and meta-analysis by searching the Cochrane Tobacco Addiction Group Specialized Register for studies using the term motivat* NEAR2 (interview* OR enhanc* OR session* OR counsel* OR practi* OR behav*) in the title or abstract, or motivation* as a keyword. The date of the most recent search was August 2014. Randomized controlled trials in which motivational interviewing or its variants were offered to tobacco users to assist cessation were identified for inclusion in the review. We extracted data from these trial papers in duplicate. The main outcome measure was abstinence from smoking after at least six months follow-up. We used the most rigorous definition of abstinence in each trial, and biochemically validated rates where available. We counted participants lost to follow-up as continuing smoking or relapsed. We performed meta-analysis using a fixed-effect Mantel-Haenszel model.
We identified 28 studies published between 1997 and 2014, involving over 16,000 participants. MI was conducted in one to six sessions, with the duration of each session ranging from 10 to 60 minutes. Interventions were delivered by primary care physicians, hospital clinicians, nurses or counsellors. Our meta-analysis of MI versus brief advice or usual care yielded a modest but significant increase in quitting (risk ratio (RR) 1.26; 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.16 to 1.36; 28 studies; N = 16,803). Subgroup analyses found that MI delivered by primary care physicians resulted in an RR of 3.49 (95% CI 1.53 to 7.94; 2 trials; N = 736). When delivered by counsellors the RR was smaller (1.25; 95% CI 1.15 to 1.63; 22 trials; N = 13,593) but MI still resulted in higher quit rates than brief advice or usual care. When we compared MI interventions conducted through shorter sessions (less than 20 minutes per session) to controls, this resulted in an RR of 1.69 (95% CI 1.34 to 2.12; 9 trials; N = 3651). Single-session treatments might increase the likelihood of quitting over multiple sessions, but both regimens produced positive outcomes. Evidence is unclear at present on the optimal number of follow-up calls.
Motivational interviewing may assist people to quit smoking. However, the results should be interpreted with caution, due to variations in study quality, treatment fidelity, between-study heterogeneity and the possibility of publication or selective reporting bias.
- Nicola Lindson-Hawley, Plymouth University, Plymouth, UK
- Tom Thompson
- Rachna Begh, Plymouth University, Plymouth, UK