The GROMIT study (GROup Motivational InTerviewing): intervention development of group motivational interviewing to promote emotional and physical health in school pupils.

Lead researcher
Dr Simon Murphy, DECIPHer, Cardiff University

The MRC framework for developing and evaluating complex interventions highlights the importance and iterative nature of Pre-clinical to phase II feasibility testing. This study seeks to establish the theoretical and ecological validity of a school intervention to promote emotional and physical health in school pupils, prior to the construction of a much larger grant to study efficacy.

The main research questions are:

  • Is it feasible to deliver group motivational interviewing (GMI) in the school setting to promote pupil well-being in a form that is acceptable to teachers and pupils?  
  • What is the theoretical basis of school GMI and the likely active ingredients?

As this is a developmental study, there are no formal hypotheses. The study will generate hypotheses to be tested in a future study.

The aims are to

  • Assess the feasibility of delivering GMI in a school setting
  • Assess levels of acceptability for deliverers and recipients
  • Assess the theoretical basis of the intervention
  • Establish appropriate systems and structures for implementation of GMI
  • Start the process of constructing a larger grant application with a wider group, including international colleagues if necessary.

School based health promotion represents a potentially cost effective, high reach approach to enhancing healthy child development, promoting long term health and addressing health inequalities by influencing mediators of inequalities early in the life course. However, despite considerable effort, health promotion in schools has struggled to develop programmes that have a decisive impact on markers of future chronic health problems linked to smoking, alcohol use, sexual behaviour, diet and exercise. Particular emphasis has been placed on the need to develop cost effective curriculum approaches that address social and emotional health predictors of multiple health risk beahviours.

Motivational interviewing is a form of counseling that has very encouraging support in a wide range of settings in addressing such issues. Although its use in schools is growing, an evidence base for group approaches is lacking, with the first text on this subject due to reach the public domain in December 2012.  Our team has realized the potential of this new development and started a process of developing an intervention.

Study design summary
Following the formation of a Research Development Group in late 2010 we were awarded a small budget to interview key stakeholders, teachers and pupils, about the principles and practice of GMI and develop GMI lesson plan.  The current funding will be used to conduct and evaluate the delivery of GMI in two schools. We will then construct a grant application (ESRC intervention development or NIHR feasibility trial) and publish a supportive paper.

Total awarded