Technology-Delivered Adaptations of Motivational Interviewing for the Prevention and Management of Chronic Diseases: Scoping Review

Havisha Pedamallu, Matthew J. Ehrhardt, Julia Maki, April Idalski Carcone, Melissa M. Hudson, Erika A. Waters

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Background: Motivational interviewing (MI) can increase health-promoting behaviors and decrease health-damaging behaviors. However, MI is often resource intensive, precluding its use with people with limited financial or time resources. Mobile health-based versions of MI interventions or technology-delivered adaptations of MI (TAMIs) might increase reach. Objective: We aimed to understand the characteristics of existing TAMIs. We were particularly interested in the inclusion of people from marginalized sociodemographic groups, whether the TAMI addressed sociocontextual factors, and how behavioral and health outcomes were reported. Methods: We employed the PRISMA (Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses) guidelines for scoping reviews to conduct our scoping review. We searched PubMed, CINAHL, and PsycInfo from January 1, 1996, to April 6, 2022, to identify studies that described interventions incorporating MI into a mobile or electronic health platform. For inclusion, the study was required to (1) describe methods/outcomes of an MI intervention, (2) feature an intervention delivered automatically via a mobile or electronic health platform, and (3) report a behavioral or health outcome. The exclusion criteria were (1) publication in a language other than English and (2) description of only in-person intervention delivery (ie, no TAMI). We charted results using Excel (Microsoft Corp). Results: Thirty-four studies reported the use of TAMIs. Sample sizes ranged from 10 to 2069 participants aged 13 to 70 years. Most studies (n=27) directed interventions toward individuals engaging in behaviors that increased chronic disease risk. Most studies (n=22) oversampled individuals from marginalized sociodemographic groups, but few (n=3) were designed specifically with marginalized groups in mind. TAMIs used text messaging (n=8), web-based intervention (n=22), app + text messaging (n=1), and web-based intervention + text messaging (n=3) as delivery platforms. Of the 34 studies, 30 (88%) were randomized controlled trials reporting behavioral and health-related outcomes, 23 of which reported statistically significant improvements in targeted behaviors with TAMI use. TAMIs improved targeted health behaviors in the remaining 4 studies. Moreover, 11 (32%) studies assessed TAMI feasibility, acceptability, or satisfaction, and all rated TAMIs highly in this regard. Among 20 studies with a disproportionately high number of people from marginalized racial or ethnic groups compared with the general US population, 16 (80%) reported increased engagement in health behaviors or better health outcomes. However, no TAMIs included elements that addressed sociocontextual influences on behavior or health outcomes. Conclusions: Our findings suggest that TAMIs may improve some health promotion and disease management behaviors. However, few TAMIs were designed specifically for people from marginalized sociodemographic groups, and none included elements to help address sociocontextual challenges. Research is needed to determine how TAMIs affect individual health outcomes and how to incorporate elements that address sociocontextual factors, and to identify the best practices for implementing TAMIs into clinical practice.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere35283
JournalJournal of medical Internet research
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 1 2022


  • chronic disease
  • disease management
  • health behavior
  • health promotion
  • minority health
  • motivational interviewing
  • primary prevention
  • secondary prevention
  • socioeconomic factors
  • technology
  • telehealth


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