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Motivational interviewing (MI) has been found to be an effective treatment for substance using populations, including incarcerated adolescents. Although some studies suggest MI is more successful with individuals from minority backgrounds, the research remains mixed. The current study investigated the impact of ethnicity on treatment in reducing alcohol and marijuana use among incarcerated adolescents. Adolescents (14–19 years of age) were recruited from a state juvenile correctional facility and randomly assigned to receive MI or relaxation therapy (RT) (N = 147; 48 White, 51 Hispanic, and 48 African American; 126 male; 21 female). Interviews were conducted at admission to the facility and 3 months after release. Results suggest that the effects of MI on treatment outcomes are moderated by ethnicity. Hispanic adolescents who received MI significantly decreased total number of drinks on heavy drinking days (NDHD) and percentage of heavy drinking days (PHDD) as compared to Hispanic adolescents who received RT. These findings suggest that MI is an efficacious treatment for an ethnic minority juvenile justice-involved population in need of evidence-based treatments.

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Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.