Patient-provider concordance with behavioral change goals drives measures of motivational interviewing consistency

Michael Barton Laws, Gary S. Rose, Mary Catherine Beach, Yoojin Lee, William S. Rogers, Alyssa Bianca Velasco, Ira B. Wilson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Motivational Interviewing (MI) consistent talk by a counselor is thought to produce "change talk" in clients. However, it is possible that client resistance to behavior change can produce MI inconsistent counselor behavior. Methods: We applied a coding scheme which identifies all of the behavioral counseling about a given issue during a visit ("episodes"), assesses patient concordance with the behavioral goal, and labels providers' counseling style as facilitative or directive, to a corpus of routine outpatient visits by people with HIV. Using a different data set of comparable encounters, we applied the concepts of episode and concordance, and coded using the Motivational Interviewing Treatment Integrity system. Results: Patient concordance/discordance was not observed to change during any episode. Provider directiveness was strongly associated with patient discordance in the first study, and MI inconsistency was strongly associated with discordance in the second. Conclusion: Observations that MI-consistent behavior by medical providers is associated with patient change talk or outcomes should be evaluated cautiously, as patient resistance may provoke MI-inconsistency. Practice implications: Counseling episodes in routine medical visits are typically too brief for client talk to evolve toward change. Providers with limited training may have particular difficulty maintaining MI consistency with resistant clients.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)728-733
Number of pages6
JournalPatient Education and Counseling
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 1 2015


  • Behavioral counseling
  • HIV care
  • Motivational interviewing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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