Training Young Adult Peers In A Mobile Motivational Interviewing-Based Mentoring Approach To Upstream HIV Prevention

Abstract [from journal]

Mentoring relationships are characterized by a sustained, high quality, and skill-building relationship between a protégé and mentor (Handbook of Youth Mentoring, Los Angeles, SAGE, 2014). Within prevention science, youth mentoring programs emphasize creating a specific context that benefits a young person. Program-sponsored relationships between youth and adults allow for creating a mentor-mentee partnership, but do not require the establishment of a strong bond in order to deliver prevention-focused activities and experiences (Handbook of Youth Mentoring, Los Angeles, SAGE, 2014). Motivational Interviewing (MI) is a counseling style used widely to promote health behavior change and in prevention interventions. As part of an upstream approach to HIV prevention, we combined mentoring and MI by training peer mentors to use MI skills in their interactions as part of a large RCT of a mobile life skills intervention for adolescent men who have sex with men (AMSM). Our training model developed for training peer mentors in MI skills resulted in peers reaching and exceeding established MI fidelity thresholds (e.g., mean percentage of complex reflections = 80%, mean reflection to question ratio = 2.2:1). We offer reflections on lessons learned and future directions for those researchers and practitioners who may benefit from adapting this blended approach for mentoring AMSM.