A Qualitative Study of Perspectives of Black Women on Autonomy and Motivational Interviewing.

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PURPOSE: Motivational interviewing (MI) is an evidence-based strategy to modify health behaviors, including some risk factors for adverse birth outcomes. Black women, who have disproportionately high rates of adverse birth outcomes, have reported mixed preferences on MI. This study explored the acceptability of MI among Black women who are at high risk for adverse birth outcomes.

METHODS: We conducted qualitative interviews with women with a history of preterm birth. Participants were English-language proficient and had Medicaid-insured infants. We purposively oversampled women whose infants had medical complexity. Interviews explored experiences with health care and health behaviors after birth. The interview guide was iteratively developed to obtain specific reactions to MI by including videos demonstrating MI-consistent and MI-inconsistent counseling. Interviews were audio recorded, transcribed, and coded following an integrated approach in which we applied codes related to MI and allowed themes to emerge from the data.

RESULTS: We interviewed 30 non-Hispanic Black women from October 2018 to July 2021. Eleven viewed the videos. Participants emphasized the importance of autonomy in decision-making and health behavior. Participants expressed a preference for MI-consistent clinical approaches, including autonomy support and building rapport, considering them respectful, nonjudgmental, and likely to support change.

CONCLUSIONS: In this sample of Black women with a history of preterm birth, participants valued an MI-consistent clinical approach. Incorporating MI into clinical care may improve the experience of health care among Black women, thus serving as one strategy to promote equity in birth outcomes.



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Womens Health Rep (New Rochelle)


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