Date of Award

January 2022

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Counseling Psychology & Community Services

First Advisor

Cindy L. Juntunen

Second Advisor

Rhea L. Owens


Effectively using motivational interviewing (MI) in practice can be difficult. However, there are a number of studies that examine training students across helping professions with the goal of facilitating students use MI more effectively. Although there is no standardized training manual, students often learn specific MI skills (e.g., open-ended questions, reflections) and knowledge (e.g., MI spirit) in hopes that they will apply those techniques to encounters with clients. The purpose of this systematic review and meta-analysis was to quantify the effectiveness of teaching students motivational interviewing. In total, 15 randomized and non-randomized studies met inclusion criteria and were examined in the current review of 8 dependent variables. A large and significant aggregated Hedges’ g of 0.90 (95% CI [0.45, 1.35]) was found. However, large heterogeneity was observed in all but one of the dependent variables. Moderation analyses revealed no significant moderating effects for risk of bias or type of comparison group; however, training length was a significant moderator. Limitations of the current meta-analysis include the small sample size and lack of consistency among training duration, measurement, and data collection and resulting heterogeneity. Future research appears warranted to further assess student MI training effectiveness, especially using more rigorous and standardized procedures, as well as determining enduring effects of the training.