Sustainability Goes Change Talk: Can Motivational Interviewing Be Used to Increase Pro-Environmental behavior? 

Authors: Klonek, F. & Kauffeld, S. (2012)

Motivational Interviewing (MI) is an interviewing style that has been used extensively in the field of addiction as a treatment intervention for clients that are either resistant to or ambivalent about change [11]. Since its origins in the field of addiction treatment, the use of MI has also been extended to health psychology, clinical psychology [6] and to a minor extent also coaching psychology [13]. This study explores the feasibility and efficacy of motivational interviewing in the field of ecological psychology. Specifically, we compared the effects of an MI with those of a Non-MI control interview on client change and sustain talk language about pro-environmental behavior. Interviewers in the intervention condition were trained in MI to talk with participants about their ecological behavior and to increase pro-environmental behavior. Seventy-one interviews were videotaped, and data was analyzed using a combination of two behavioral coding schemes: the German version of the motivational interviewing treatment integrity [5] and the motivational skill code for client language [10]. Results on client change talk show that clients in the MI condition uttered significantly more reasons for change and ability to change. It is suggested that MI may offer a method to increase pro-environmental behavior by means of increasing client change language.

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