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Using Motivational Interviewing to reduce threats in conversations about environmental behavior.

Klonek FE, Güntner AV, Lehmann-Willenbrock N, Kauffeld S - Front Psychol (2015)

Bottom Line: As hypothesized, threats were significantly lower when change agents used MI.Contrary to our expectations, we found no relation between change agents' verbal threats and change recipients' verbally expressed self-defenses (i.e., sustain talk).Our results imply that MI reduces the adverse impact of threats in conversations about environmental behavior change on both the social and cognitive level.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of Industrial/Organizational and Social Psychology, Institute of Psychology, Technische Universität Braunschweig Braunschweig, Germany.

ABSTRACT
Human behavior contributes to a waste of environmental resources and our society is looking for ways to reduce this problem. However, humans may perceive feedback about their environmental behavior as threatening. According to self-determination theory (SDT), threats decrease intrinsic motivation for behavior change. According to self-affirmation theory (SAT), threats can harm individuals' self-integrity. Therefore, individuals should show self-defensive biases, e.g., in terms of presenting counter-arguments when presented with environmental behavior change. The current study examines how change recipients respond to threats from change agents in interactions about environmental behavior change. Moreover, we investigate how Motivational Interviewing (MI) - an intervention aimed at increasing intrinsic motivation - can reduce threats at both the social and cognitive level. We videotaped 68 dyadic interactions with change agents who either did or did not use MI (control group). We coded agents verbal threats and recipients' verbal expressions of motivation. Recipients also rated agents' level of confrontation and empathy (i.e., cognitive reactions). As hypothesized, threats were significantly lower when change agents used MI. Perceived confrontations converged with observable social behavior of change agents in both groups. Moreover, behavioral threats showed a negative association with change recipients' expressed motivation (i.e., reasons to change). Contrary to our expectations, we found no relation between change agents' verbal threats and change recipients' verbally expressed self-defenses (i.e., sustain talk). Our results imply that MI reduces the adverse impact of threats in conversations about environmental behavior change on both the social and cognitive level. We discuss theoretical implications of our study in the context of SAT and SDT and suggest practical implications for environmental change agents in organizations.

No MeSH data available.


Illustrative example of how SDT and SAT predict how verbal threats affect social interactions. Facilitative effects = “—,” Inhibitory effects = “-----.” The upper line shows predictions based on SAT for the social interaction and the lower line shows predictions for SDT. SAT, self-affirmation theory; SDT, self-determination theory.
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Figure 1: Illustrative example of how SDT and SAT predict how verbal threats affect social interactions. Facilitative effects = “—,” Inhibitory effects = “-----.” The upper line shows predictions based on SAT for the social interaction and the lower line shows predictions for SDT. SAT, self-affirmation theory; SDT, self-determination theory.

Mentions: Based on SDT (Deci and Ryan, 2000, 2002; Ryan and Deci, 2000, 2002), change agents should address recipients’ need for autonomy in order to evoke intrinsic motivation. The less change recipients are threatened with behavior change, the more likely they will make self-determined decisions about behavior change. The interpersonal dynamics derived from SDT are depicted in Figure 1. Verbal threats negatively affect self-determination of participants, that is, verbal threats that feedback a gap between actual and desired environmental behavior will harm the intrinsic motivation of change recipients. As illustrated in Figure 1, on the cognitive level, change recipients might have thoughts during the interaction such as “I’m an adult and I can make my own decisions.” As a result, change recipients should be less likely to show change talk on the observable interpersonal behavior level. In other words, change recipients should be less likely to provide change-directed utterances such as “I think I should travel less” that indicate that they have their own reasons for change (Miller and Rose, 2009; Glynn and Moyers, 2010). Therefore, we expect that:


Using Motivational Interviewing to reduce threats in conversations about environmental behavior.

Klonek FE, Güntner AV, Lehmann-Willenbrock N, Kauffeld S - Front Psychol (2015)

Illustrative example of how SDT and SAT predict how verbal threats affect social interactions. Facilitative effects = “—,” Inhibitory effects = “-----.” The upper line shows predictions based on SAT for the social interaction and the lower line shows predictions for SDT. SAT, self-affirmation theory; SDT, self-determination theory.
© Copyright Policy
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC4508486&req=5

Figure 1: Illustrative example of how SDT and SAT predict how verbal threats affect social interactions. Facilitative effects = “—,” Inhibitory effects = “-----.” The upper line shows predictions based on SAT for the social interaction and the lower line shows predictions for SDT. SAT, self-affirmation theory; SDT, self-determination theory.
Mentions: Based on SDT (Deci and Ryan, 2000, 2002; Ryan and Deci, 2000, 2002), change agents should address recipients’ need for autonomy in order to evoke intrinsic motivation. The less change recipients are threatened with behavior change, the more likely they will make self-determined decisions about behavior change. The interpersonal dynamics derived from SDT are depicted in Figure 1. Verbal threats negatively affect self-determination of participants, that is, verbal threats that feedback a gap between actual and desired environmental behavior will harm the intrinsic motivation of change recipients. As illustrated in Figure 1, on the cognitive level, change recipients might have thoughts during the interaction such as “I’m an adult and I can make my own decisions.” As a result, change recipients should be less likely to show change talk on the observable interpersonal behavior level. In other words, change recipients should be less likely to provide change-directed utterances such as “I think I should travel less” that indicate that they have their own reasons for change (Miller and Rose, 2009; Glynn and Moyers, 2010). Therefore, we expect that:

Bottom Line: As hypothesized, threats were significantly lower when change agents used MI.Contrary to our expectations, we found no relation between change agents' verbal threats and change recipients' verbally expressed self-defenses (i.e., sustain talk).Our results imply that MI reduces the adverse impact of threats in conversations about environmental behavior change on both the social and cognitive level.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of Industrial/Organizational and Social Psychology, Institute of Psychology, Technische Universität Braunschweig Braunschweig, Germany.

ABSTRACT
Human behavior contributes to a waste of environmental resources and our society is looking for ways to reduce this problem. However, humans may perceive feedback about their environmental behavior as threatening. According to self-determination theory (SDT), threats decrease intrinsic motivation for behavior change. According to self-affirmation theory (SAT), threats can harm individuals' self-integrity. Therefore, individuals should show self-defensive biases, e.g., in terms of presenting counter-arguments when presented with environmental behavior change. The current study examines how change recipients respond to threats from change agents in interactions about environmental behavior change. Moreover, we investigate how Motivational Interviewing (MI) - an intervention aimed at increasing intrinsic motivation - can reduce threats at both the social and cognitive level. We videotaped 68 dyadic interactions with change agents who either did or did not use MI (control group). We coded agents verbal threats and recipients' verbal expressions of motivation. Recipients also rated agents' level of confrontation and empathy (i.e., cognitive reactions). As hypothesized, threats were significantly lower when change agents used MI. Perceived confrontations converged with observable social behavior of change agents in both groups. Moreover, behavioral threats showed a negative association with change recipients' expressed motivation (i.e., reasons to change). Contrary to our expectations, we found no relation between change agents' verbal threats and change recipients' verbally expressed self-defenses (i.e., sustain talk). Our results imply that MI reduces the adverse impact of threats in conversations about environmental behavior change on both the social and cognitive level. We discuss theoretical implications of our study in the context of SAT and SDT and suggest practical implications for environmental change agents in organizations.

No MeSH data available.