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Introduction: Untreated obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) leads to negative health outcomes. Yet, compliance rates for continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP), the gold standard of treatment, range from 30-60%. This study examines how motivational interviewing (MI), a goal-oriented form of psychotherapy, increases CPAP adherence. We hypothesize that MI increases CPAP compliance when incorporated into CPAP follow-up care.

Methods: We developed and trained our staff with a novel MI training protocol consisting of MI background readings and videos, CPAP technician shadowing, and MI role-play for certification. For the clinical trial, newly diagnosed OSA patients from Jefferson’s sleep center will be randomized to either an MI or attention control intervention. Both interventions consist of 9 phone calls made over a 3 month period after CPAP initiation. MI calls focus on eliciting internal motivation for change. Attention control calls focus on building rapport. Compliance data will be downloaded from CPAP smartcards.

Results: The MI and attention control groups will be compared with regard to CPAP adherence (number of hours/ night). Demographic variables including age, gender, BMI, and baseline blood pressure will be collected. The comparative analysis (t-test) of compliance rates will also control for baseline variables (multiple regression). Qualitative information regarding patients’ attitudes toward CPAP will be reported descriptively, and potentially used for secondary analyses.

Discussion: If shown to improve compliance, MI could become the standard of care to improve OSA associated negative health outcomes. Our novel protocol makes MI training and administration accessible and inexpensive.