Date of Award

Fall 12-20-2016

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Clinical Psychology (PhD)


Clinical Psychology

First Advisor/Committee Member

David G. Stewart

Second Advisor/Committee Member

Amy Mezulis

Third Advisor/Committee Member

Ann Vander Stoep


This study was part of a larger research intervention that uses motivational interviewing (MI) as part of an in-school substance abuse intervention in local high schools in the greater Seattle area. Our aim was to test hypothesized relationships between marijuana use, other delinquent behavior, and neutralization techniques used by participants and determine their impact on the effectiveness of an MI-based intervention. Hypotheses were that neutralization technique use would decrease the effectiveness of an MI intervention due to the conflicting cognitive processes of justification and developing discrepancy. Of the 84 participants that completed Intake assessments, 60% were male and identified as an ethnic minority sample: Caucasian/White = 34%; African American/Black = 16%; Hispanic/Latin@ = 16%; Asian American/Asian = 8%; multiethnic = 8%. Forty-eight students completed Week 8 Follow Up assessments. Substance abuse was measured using the Customary Drinking and Drug Use Record (CDDR; Brown et al., 1998). Delinquency was measured using a revised version of the Late Adolescent Delinquency Scale (LADS; McCartan, 2007). Neutralization technique use was measured using a revised version of the Inventory of Neutralization Techniques (Ball, 1996; Ball, 1973; Mitchell & Dodder, 1983; Shields & Whitehall, 1994). Hierarchical linear regression analyses revealed that alcohol use at intake significantly predicted alcohol use at Week 8 Follow Up, F(1,47) = 8.503, p = .005 and accounted for approximately 16% of the model variance. Adding total neutralization to the model also yielded significant outcomes and accounted for 24% of the total variance, FΔ(2,46) = 4.835, p = .033. Data showed similar findings for marijuana, with Intake marijuana use predicting use at Week 8 Follow Up, F(1,47) = 9.542, p = .003, and accounting for approximately 18% of the model variance. Including total neutralization to this model also provided significant outcomes and accounted for 26% of the variance, FΔ(2,46) = 4.611, p = .037. Including delinquency did not significantly contribute to either regression model. Because neutralization technique use was hypothesized to be the mechanism that interfered with the effectiveness of MI, understanding these participants’ cognitive strategies will be valuable in determining the most effective type of substance use treatment for each student.

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