Article 1: A recent article has been co-written by Roxanne and currently under peer review on the Motivational Interviewing research project referenced on our website.
Article 2: The Social Research Development Corporation (SRDC) recently released an article on using Motivational Interviewing with Income Assistance recipients a research project in which Empowering Change was a partner.
The following is a summary of article 2:
Motivational Interviewing Research Project in British Columbia 2012-2013
• Purpose of the project: Can Motivational Interviewing (MI) motivate long-term social assistance recipients towards employment?
• Motivational Interviewing (MI). MI is a method of interacting with clients who are ambivalent about making change in their lives. It has “wide application in behavioural change: addictions, health, behaviour wellness, chronic disease management, and most recently in the employment field.
• Partners: The Social Research Development Corporation, and Empowering Change Inc. partnered and BC’s Ministry to research and deliver MI interventions to Income Assistance recipients.
• Scope: To test MI within regular service delivery for Income Assistance (IA) clients, the project sought to integrate MI into client interactions in two settings. This proved complicated to achieve, but the project’s efforts to integrate MI in two settings for client interactions ensured that the project findings would apply to implementation in real-world settings.
• The settings included: Employment and Assistance Workers at two participating Employment & Income Assistance (EIA) offices in British Columbia (BC) Fraser Valley together with case managers at the equivalent local WorkBC employment service centres.
• Training: Study group service providers received 70 hours of training and coaching in how to use MI, prior to participant recruitment, from Empowering Change Inc. a leading Canadian organization in the use of MI in employment service settings.
• The research took place between September 2012 and March 2013. There were a total of 154 research participants; 76 of the individuals were in the study group, while 78 were in the control group.
• Research participants were on income assistance (IA) upon enrollment in the study.
• Research participants had been identified by BC’s Ministry as being “employment obligated,” which means they were expected to be actively searching for paid employment.
• Research participants had been on IA for at least one year at the study’s outset. The rationale behind this strategy was to identify IA recipients who were most likely to be facing motivational challenges.
• Clients experienced multiple barriers to employment. Amongst other barriers, most of the research participants reported health problems. According to the report, more than 70% of study participants “reported activity limitations that affected their ability to work.”
• The project found that integrating MI into client interactions significantly raised employment rates for long-term IA recipients over the three-month period, by 7.8 percentage points relative to the control group, the proportion in the control group working declined by 2 percentage points, from 4.0 to 2.0 per cent, while the proportion working in the MI-stream increased by 5.9 percentage points, from 3.5 to 9.4 per cent.
• Fewer than half of the members of the study’s treatment group actually took in even one (hour-long) Motivational Interviewing session. Just 36 of the members of the study’s 76 study group members chose to go through with a Motivational Interview. And only about one in five members of the study group took in more than one such session.
• Fewer than half of the members of the study’s treatment group actually took in even one (hour-long) Motivational Interviewing session. Just 36 of the members of the study’s 76 study group members chose to go through with a Motivational Interview. And only about one in five members of the study group took in more than one such session. NOTE: the success of the study group as a whole was carried by a minority of its membership.
• This suggests that the success of the treatment group is actually being understated; had every single member of the treatment group actually received the intervention (and not merely been offered it). The treatment group as a whole could have performed even more favourably compared with the control group.
• It is a hypothesis of the writer that IA recipients were apprehensive to identify their true state of work readiness to change on the assessment tool when conducted by IA counsellors, this is based on feedback from IA counsellors and the non-government counselors in the study group. It is possible that IA recipients may have felt pressure (internally) to state more readiness to work on their assessment out of concern of losing their benefits. However, counsellors were encouraged to trust the language they heard from the IA recipient, if they identified language consistent with ambivalence counsellors were encouraged to initiate a MI session.