Feedback is a technique that is commonly used when providing education around a wide range of health topics, with the aim of stimulating motivation for change.

Providing feedback is not an essential element of MI but it can be useful for raising topics and beginning a conversation with clients in a pre-contemplative stage (Miller & Rollnick, 2009; p134).

‘Personalised feedback’ involves presenting factual information about the client’s specific experiences with the target behaviour, with the goal of increasing concern. The information may include data from objective assessments or the client’s own self-report.

Normative feedback’ involves comparing the client’s information with data from similar others in a population such as people in the same age group, gender, ethnic group e.g. You say you have about 30 drinks a week, would you be interested in knowing how this compares with other males your age? This study here found that young Australian men aged 16-18 drink an average of 5 drinks per week.

Note that some young people may reject being presented with normative data as they may perceive their circumstances as different from the norm or do not consider the behaviour to be a problem e.g. ‘This graph isn’t relevant to me, everyone I know drinks the same as me’. In this situation use the techniques of ‘Rolling with resistance’.