Defense Date


Graduation Date



Immediate Access

Submission Type


Degree Name



Counseling, Psychology, & Special Education


School of Education

Committee Chair

Tammy Hughes

Committee Member

Jeffrey Miller

Committee Member

Elizabeth McCallum


adolescents, at-risk, brief intervention, drug and alcohol, motivational interviewing, school


Unfortunately, substance use is prevalent among adolescents. Data from the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) shows that in 2009, 46.7% of 12th grade students reported that they had tried an illicit substance in their lifetime (NIDA, 2010). Substance use in adolescence is the strongest predictor of drug and alcohol disorders in adults. Albert Bandura's social cognitive theory suggests there is a reciprocal interaction between personal, environmental, and behavioral factors that contribute to substance use. This theory is also useful for identifying factors (e.g. motivation, self-efficacy, and outcome expectancies) that are central to behavior change.

Motivational Interviewing (MI) is an evidence-based intervention that directly addresses factors useful for behavioral change. For adolescents using drugs and alcohol, MI has been identified as an evidence-based intervention (Barnett, et. al., 2012; Jensen, et. al., 2011). The current study examined the impact of the intervention, MI, on the social cognitive theory factors of motivation, self-efficacy, and outcome expectancies in adolescents who have been through the juvenile court system. The intervention was conducted in a charter school for adjudicated adolescents. To assess the specific impact of the intervention, a single subject design was utilized.

The results suggest that the intervention positively impacts the factors that contribute to behavior change as indicated by an increase in motivation to avoid substance use, an increase in self-efficacy to refuse substances, a decrease in positive outcome expectancies related to using substances, and an increase in the positive expectancies related to avoiding substance use. This study provides support for the use of MI in a specific population of adolescents who would benefit from a substance use intervention.