Journal Club
Open Access Article

The Use of Motivational Interviewing to Promote Peer-to-Peer Support for Cancer Survivors

Marlyn Allicock

Leanne Kaye

La-Shell Johnson

Carol Carr

Candice Alick

Mindy Gellin

Marci Campbell

social support
CJON 2012, 16(5), E156-E163. DOI: 10.1188/12.CJON.E156-E163

Motivational interviewing (MI) as a counseling approach has gained empirical support for its use in a number of settings and for a variety of behaviors. However, the majority of practitioners trained to use MI have been professionals rather than laypeople. This article presents the rationale, design, and evaluation of an MI-based training for cancer survivors and caregivers to deliver peer support. The training and evaluation of the peers ("guides") to encourage practice and increase research knowledge for using MI-based peer support models for cancer care are discussed. Thirteen cancer survivors and two caregivers received two-day DVD-based MI training, as well as supplemental monthly sessions for six months. The guides demonstrated MI proficiency as assessed by the MI Treatment Integrity scale and other process evaluation assessments. MI can be adapted to train laypeople to provide support for groups such as cancer survivors.

Jump to a section


    Ashbury, F. D., Cameron, C., Mercer, S. L., Fitch, M., & Nielsen, E. (1998). One-on-one peer support and quality of life for breast cancer patients. Patient Education and Counseling, 35, 89-100.
    Barlow, S. H., Burlingame, G. M., Nebeker, R. S., & Anderson, E. (2000). Meta-analysis of medical self-help groups. International Journal of Group Psychotherapy, 50, 53-69.
    Campbell, H. S., Phaneuf, M. R., & Deane, K. (2004). Cancer peer support programs—Do they work? Patient Education and Counseling, 55, 3-15.
    Campbell, M. K., Resnicow, K., Carr, C., Wang, T., & Williams, A. (2007). Process evaluation of an effective church-based diet intervention: Body and soul. Health Education and Behavior, 34, 864-880. doi:10.1177/1090198106292020
    Campbell, M. K., Tessaro, I., Gellin, M., Valle, C. G., Golden, S., Kaye, L., … Miller, K. (2011). Adult cancer survivorship care: Experiences from the LIVESTRONG Centers of Excellence Network. Journal of Cancer Survivorship, 5, 271-282. doi:10.1007/s11764-011-0180-z
    Carlsen, K., Jensen, A. B., Jacobsen, E., Krasnik, M., & Johansen, C. (2005). Psychosocial aspects of lung cancer. Lung Cancer, 47, 293-300. doi:10.1016/j.lungcan.2004.08.002
    Crane-Okada, R., Freeman, E., Ross, M., Kiger, H., & Giuliano, A. E. (2010). Training senior peer counselors to provide telephone support for newly diagnosed breast cancer survivors. Journal of Cancer Education, 25, 174-179. doi:10.1007/s13187-009-0028-7
    Curran, V. R., & Church, J. G. (1999). A study of rural women's satisfaction with a breast cancer self-help network. Journal of Telemedicine and Telecare, 5, 47-54. doi:10.1258/1357633991932388
    Dale, J., Caramlau, I. O., Lindenmeyer, A., & Williams, S. M. (2008). Peer support telephone calls for improving health. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, 4, CD006903.
    Dennis, C. L. (2003). Peer support within a health care context: A concept analysis. International Journal of Nursing Studies, 40, 321-332. doi:10.1016/S0020-7489(02)00092-5
    Dunn, J., Steginga, S. K., Occhipinti, S., & Wilson, K. (1999). Evaluation of a peer support program for women with breast cancer: Lessons for practitioners. Journal of Community and Applied Social Psychology, 9, 13-22. doi:10.1002/(SICI)1099-1298(199901/02)9:1<13::AID-CASP488>3.0.CO;2-F
    Dunn, J., Steginga, S. K., Rosoman, N., & Millichap, D. (2003). A review of peer support in the context of cancer. Journal of Psychosocial Oncology, 21(2), 55-67. doi:10.1300/J077v21n02_04
    Edgar, L. J., Remmer, J., Rosberger, Z., & Rapkin, B. (2003). Evaluating a volunteer cancer support service. Journal of Psychosocial Oncology, 21, 53-72. doi:10.1300/J077v21n01_03
    Fernsler, J. I., & Manchester, L. J. (1997). Evaluation of a computer-based cancer support network. Cancer Practice, 5, 46-51.
    Glynn, L. H., & Moyers, T. B. (2010). Chasing change talk: The clinician's role in evoking client language about change. Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment, 39, 65-70. doi:10.1016/j.jsat.2010.03.012
    Gray, R., Fitch, M., Davis, C., & Phillips, C. (1997). A qualitative study of breast cancer self-help groups. Psycho-Oncology, 6, 279-289.
    Hegel, M. T., Moore, C. P., Collins, E. D., Kearing, S., Gillock, K. L., Riggs, R. L., … Ahles, T. A. (2006). Distress, psychiatric syndromes, and impairment of function in women with newly diagnosed breast cancer. Cancer, 107, 2924-2931. doi:10.1002/cncr.22335
    Hewitt, M. E., Greenfield, S., & Stovall, E. (2006). From cancer patient to cancer survivor: Lost in transition. Washington, DC: National Academies Press.
    Horner, M. J., Ries, L. A. G., Krapcho, M., Neyman, N., Aminou, R., Howlader, N., … Edwards, B. K. (Eds.). (2009). SEER cancer statistics review, 1975-2006. Bethesda, MD: National Cancer Institute.
    Miller, W. R., & Rollnick, S. (1991). Motivational interviewing: Preparing people to change addictive behavior. New York, NY: Guilford Press.
    Miller, W. R., & Rollnick, S. (2009). Ten things that motivational interviewing is not. Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapy, 37, 129-140. doi:10.1017/S1352465809005128
    Moyers, T. B., Martin, T., Manuel, J. K., Hendrickson, S. M., & Miller, W. R. (2005). Assessing competence in the use of motivational interviewing. Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment, 28, 19-26. doi:10.1016/j.jsat.2004.11.001
    Moyers, T. B., Martin, T., Manuel, J. K., Miller, W. R., & Ernst, D. (2010). Revised global scales: Motivational Interviewing Treatment Integrity 3.1.1 (MITI 3.1.1). Albuquerque, NM: University of New Mexico Center on Alcoholism, Substance Abuse and Addictions.
    Moyers, T. B., Miller, W. R., & Hendrickson, S. M. (2005). How does motivational interviewing work? Therapist interpersonal skill predicts client involvement within motivational interviewing sessions. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 73, 590-598. doi:10.1037/0022-006X.73.4.590
    National Cancer Institute. (2004). Living beyond cancer: Finding a new balance. Bethesda, MD: Author.
    Oeffinger, K. C., & McCabe, M. S. (2006). Models for delivering survivorship care. Journal of Clinical Oncology, 24, 5117-5124.
    Park, E. R., Puleo, E., Butterfield, R. M., Zorn, M., Mertens, A. C., Gritz, E. R., … Emmons, K. M. (2006). A process evaluation of a telephone-based peer-delivered smoking cessation intervention for adult survivors of childhood cancer: The partnership for health study. Preventive Medicine, 42, 435-442.
    Rini, C., Lawsin, C., Austin, J., DuHamel, K., Markarian, Y., Burkhalter, J., … Redd, W. H. (2007). Peer mentoring and survivors' stories for cancer patients: Positive effects and some cautionary notes. Journal of Clinical Oncology, 25, 163-166. doi:10.1200/JCO.2006.08.8567
    Rollnick, S., Miller, W. R., & Butler, C. C. (2007). Motivational interviewing in health care: Helping patients change behavior. New York, NY: Guilford Press.
    Rubak, S., Sandbaek, A., Lauritzen, T., & Christensen, B. (2005). Motivational interviewing: A systematic review and meta-analysis. British Journal of General Practice, 55, 305-312.
    Shapiro, C. L., McCabe, M. S., Syrjala, K. L., Friedman, D., Jacobs, L. A., Ganz, P. A., … Marcus, A. C. (2009). The LIVESTRONG Survivorship Center of Excellence Network. Journal of Cancer Survivorship, 3, 4-11. doi:10.1007/s11764-008-0076-8
    Shulman, L. N., Jacobs, L. A., Greenfield, S., Jones, B., McCabe, M. S., Syrjala, K., … Ganz, P. A. (2009). Cancer care and cancer survivorship care in the United States: Will we be able to care for these patients in the future? Journal of Oncology Practice, 5(3), 119-123. doi:10.1200/JOP.0932001
    Spiegel, D., & Giese-Davis, J. (2003). Depression and cancer: Mechanisms and disease progression. Biological Psychiatry, 54, 269-282. doi:10.1016/S0006-3223(03)00566-3
    Walters, S. T., Matson, S. A., Baer, J. S., & Ziedonis, D. M. (2005). Effectiveness of workshop training for psychosocial addiction treatments: A systematic review. Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment, 29, 283-293. doi:10.1016/j.jsat.2005.08.006
    Weiner, B. J., Haynes-Maslow, L., Kahwati, L. C., Kinsinger, L. S., & Campbell, M. K. (2012). Implementing the MOVE! weight-management program in the Veterans Health Administration, 2007-2010: A qualitative study. Preventing Chronic Disease, 9, E16.