Tailoring Messages within the Stages of Change
Hampton, Brandy M.
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Tailored communications have been effective in increasing both recall and readership of health information. However, there is no clear evidence that tailoring is necessary or beneficial in creating behavior change. There are many possible sources for the inconsistencies in the empirical literature. This current research explores possible approaches to increase the effectiveness of message tailoring by incorporating components from the four main conceptual structures found in the literature. In the first study, the Stages of Change Model was used to segment the sample into four distinct groups (precontemplative, contemplative, action, and maintenance). The behavioral determinants for respondents in each group were then identified. The differences between the precontemplative and contemplative segment suggest that an affective message will be more effective in changing intention for precontemplative respondents and a cognitive message will be more effective for the respondents in the contemplative segment. In a second study, an experimental study was conducted to test these alternative approaches. Results show that the proposed approaches did influence males as expected. However, females did not behave in the manner expected. Possible explanations for the differences between gender, such as behavior salience and information processing styles, are discussed. Overall, support is found for the use of tailoring messages to create behavior change.
- Masters Theses