Pilot study of the influence of self-coding on empathy within an introductory motivational interviewing training

SIMPER, Trevor, AGLEY, J, DESALLE, M, TODD, J and DUTTA, T (2020). Pilot study of the influence of self-coding on empathy within an introductory motivational interviewing training. BMC Medical Education, 20, p. 43.

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Official URL: https://bmcmededuc.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1...
Open Access URL: https://bmcmededuc.biomedcentral.com/track/pdf/10.... (Published version)
Link to published version:: https://doi.org/10.1186/s12909-020-1956-5


Background: Motivational interviewing (MI) is a framework for addressing behavior change that is often used by healthcare professionals. Expression of empathy during MI is associated with positive client outcomes, while absence of empathy may produce iatrogenic effects. Although training in MI is linked to increased therapeutic empathy in learners, no research has investigated individual training components' contribution to this increase. The objective of this study was to test whether a self-coding MI exercise using smartphones completed at hour 6 of an 8-h MI training was superior in engendering empathy to training as usual (watching an MI expert perform in a video clip for the same duration at the same point in the training). Methods: This was a pilot study at two sites using randomization and control groups with 1:1 allocation. Allocation was achieved via computerized assignment (site 1, United Kingdom) or facedown playing card distribution (site 2, United States). Participants were 58 students attending a university class at one of two universities, of which an 8-h segment was dedicated to a standardized MI training. Fifty-five students consented to participate and were randomized. The intervention was an MI self-coding exercise using smartphone recording and a standardized scoring sheet. Students were encouraged to reflect on areas of potential improvement based on their self-coding results. The main outcome measure was score on the Helpful Responses Questionnaire, a measure of therapeutic empathy, collected prior to and immediately following the 8-h training. Questionnaire coding was completed by 2 blinded external reviewers and assessed for interrater reliability, and students were assigned averaged empathy scores from 6 to 30. Analyses were conducted via repeated-measures ANOVA using the general linear model. Results: Fifty-five students were randomized, and 2 were subsequently excluded from analysis at site 2 due to incomplete questionnaires. The study itself was feasible, and overall therapeutic empathy increased significantly and substantially among students. However, the intervention was not superior to the control condition in this study. Conclusions: Replacing a single passive learning exercise with an active learning exercise in an MI training did not result in a substantive boost to therapeutic empathy. However, consistently with prior research, this study identified significant overall increases in empathy following introductory MI training. A much larger study examining the impact of selected exercises and approaches would likely be useful and informative.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Education; Empathy; Health professionals; MI; Motivational interviewing; Medical Informatics; 1302 Curriculum and Pedagogy; 1117 Public Health and Health Services
Identification Number: https://doi.org/10.1186/s12909-020-1956-5
Page Range: p. 43
SWORD Depositor: Symplectic Elements
Depositing User: Symplectic Elements
Date Deposited: 26 Feb 2020 14:26
Last Modified: 18 Mar 2021 02:35
URI: https://shura.shu.ac.uk/id/eprint/25867

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