Cover: Feasibility of a Computer-Assisted Social Network Motivational Interviewing Intervention to Reduce Substance Use and Increase Supportive Connections Among Emerging Adults Transitioning from Homelessness to Housing

Feasibility of a Computer-Assisted Social Network Motivational Interviewing Intervention to Reduce Substance Use and Increase Supportive Connections Among Emerging Adults Transitioning from Homelessness to Housing

Published in: Addiction Science & Clinical Practice, Volume 17: 26 (2022) DOI: 10.1186/s13722-022-00307-4

Posted on rand.org Jun 13, 2023

by David P. Kennedy, Karen Chan Osilla, Joan S. Tucker

Background

Social networks may play positive and negative roles in the lives of young adults experiencing homelessness (YEH) who are transitioning into housing. Social networks can influence their alcohol and/or other drug (AOD) use, as well as provide immediate and long-term support necessary for a successful transition.

Methods

We adapted a four-session computer-assisted motivational interviewing social network intervention (MI-SNI) for YEH transitioning into housing. We iteratively adapted and beta tested the intervention for delivery by case managers at an organization that provides supportive housing to YEH. We conducted a focus group with agency staff (n = 6), role-play exercises with case managers (n = 3), and semi-structured interviews with residents (n = 6). Interview data were thematically analyzed with open coding. This study presents the first adaptation of an innovative social network-based motivational intervention to reduce AOD use and increase stable, prosocial supportive connections via visualizations of the structure and composition of the individual's social network.

Results

Participants rated sessions as "moderately" to "very" helpful and "good" quality on average. Participants agreed that the sessions were helpful, understandable, and satisfying and would work for new residents. Themes emerged in four broad categories: (1) Acceptability, (2) Positive benefits, (3) Visualization reactions, and (4) MI-SNI interface reactions. For the acceptability category, three sub-themes emerged: (1) understandability, (2) enjoyability and ease of use, (3) and barriers to acceptability. Five sub-themes emerged about the intervention's likelihood to trigger positive benefits: (1) learning/new insights, (2) enhancement to motivation to change, (3) making AOD changes, (4) building social support, and (5) the intervention's usefulness to some but not others. Five sub-themes also emerged from comments about the social network visualizations: (1) general positive comments, (2) understandability, (3) new insights, (4) triggering changes in social support, and (5) triggering changes in AOD use. When discussing the MI-SNI intervention interface beyond the visualizations, discussions emerged in three thematic categories: (1) discussion of name listing, (2) discussion of screen wording, and (3) the use of a computer interface to deliver the intervention.

Conclusions

Results suggest that the MI-SNI is acceptable to YEH and can be feasibly delivered by case managers during case management sessions.

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