Motivational interviewing: A useful approach to improving cardiovascular health?

David R. Thompson*, Sek Y. Chair, Sally W. Chan, Felicity Astin, Patricia M. Davidson, Chantal F. Ski

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

104 Citations (Scopus)


Aim. To review and synthesise, systematically, the research findings regarding motivational interviewing and to inform education, research and practice in relation to cardiovascular health. Background. Motivational interviewing is designed to engage ambivalent or resistant clients in the process of health behaviour change, and it has been widely used in different clinical conditions such as substance abuse, dietary adherence and smoking cessation. Motivational interviewing has also been proposed as a method for improving modifiable coronary heart disease risk factors of patients. Design. Systematic review. Method. Eligible studies published in 1999-2009 were identified from the following databases: CINAHL, Medline, PsycINFO, Cochrane Library, EBSCO, Web of Science, Embase and British Nursing Index. A manual search was conducted of bibliographies of the identified studies and relevant journals. Two researchers independently reviewed the studies. Results. Four meta-analyses, one systematic review and three literature reviews of motivational interviewing and five primary studies of motivational interviewing pertaining to cardiovascular health were identified. Despite a dearth of primary studies in cardiovascular health settings, there appears to be strong evidence that motivational interviewing is an effective approach focusing on eliciting the person's intrinsic motivation for change of behaviour. Conclusion. Motivational interviewing is an effective approach to changing behaviour. It offers promise in improving cardiovascular health status. Relevance to clinical practice. This review indicates that motivational interviewing is a useful method to help nurses improve health behaviour in people with coronary risk factors.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1236-1244
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Clinical Nursing
Issue number9-10
Publication statusPublished - 01 May 2011


  • Coronary heart disease
  • Health behaviour change
  • Motivational interviewing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Nursing


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