A Pilot Test of a Motivational Interviewing Social Network Intervention to Reduce Substance Use Among Housing First Residents

Published in: Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment, Volume 86 (March 2018), Pages 36-44. doi: 10.1016/j.jsat.2017.12.005

Posted on RAND.org on February 09, 2018

by David Kennedy, Karen Chan Osilla, Sarah B. Hunter, Daniela Golinelli, Ervant J. Maksabedian, Joan Tucker

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This article presents findings of a pilot test of a Motivational Interviewing social network intervention (MI-SNI) to enhance motivation to reduce high risk alcohol and other drug (AOD) use among formerly homeless individuals transitioning to housing. Delivered in-person by a facilitator trained in MI, this four-session computer-assisted intervention provides personalized social network visualization feedback to help participants understand the people in their network who trigger their alcohol and other drug (AOD) use and those who support abstinence. If ready, participants are encouraged to make changes to their social network to help reduce their own high-risk behavior. Participants were 41 individuals (33 male, 7 female, 1 other; 23 African-American, 5 non-Latino White, 6 Latino, 7 other, mean age 48) who were transitioning from homelessness to permanent supportive housing. They were randomly assigned to either the MI-SNI condition or usual care. Readiness to change AOD use, AOD abstinence self-efficacy, and AOD use were assessed at baseline and shortly after the final intervention session for the MI-SNI arm and around 3-months after baseline for the control arm. Acceptability of the intervention was also evaluated. MI-SNI participants reported increased readiness to change AOD use compared to control participants. We also conducted a subsample analysis for participants at one housing program and found a significant intervention effect on readiness to change AOD use, AOD abstinence self-efficacy, and alcohol use compared to control participants. Participants rated the intervention as highly acceptable. We conclude that a brief computer-assisted Motivational Interviewing social network intervention has potential to efficaciously impact readiness to change AOD use, AOD abstinence self-efficacy, and AOD use among formerly homeless individuals transitioning to permanent supportive housing, and warrants future study in larger clinical trials.

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