Examining the mechanisms of tailoring: Extending the integrative model of behavioral prediction

Brenda L Curtis, University of Pennsylvania


Although message tailoring results have generally been positive, researchers have not sufficiently studied the mechanisms through which tailored messages exert their effects. Using the integrative model to predict intention to use the nicotine replacement patch to quit smoking among African Americans and Caucasian adults, the present study examined the specific elements of a tailored message that enhance the integrative model's effectiveness. This dissertation included three online studies. First, I elicited participants' perceptions (N=154) regarding using the nicotine replacement patch and used this information to design a tailored feedback system. Second, I conducted an evaluation of the tailored feedback system, in which participants (N=39) received tailored messages and evaluated argument quality. Building upon these results, I conducted a randomized internet-based trial to directly examine the mechanisms of tailoring. Participants (N=495) were randomized into one of 7 conditions. In the non-tailored conditions, participants were randomly matched on zero to six tailoring variables. Participants in the tailored condition were matched on all 3 content variables (attitude, norm, and self-efficacy) and on all 3 feature variables (gender, ethnicity, and age). Intentions to use the nicotine replacement patch were highly correlated with perceived message effectiveness and the integrated model's components accounted for 53% of the variance in intentions with attitude and perceived normative pressure emerged as the strongest predictors. Results were similar for African Americans and Caucasians subgroups with perceived behavioral control no longer being a significant predictor of intentions. As predicted: (1) as the number of matched items increased, intentions and perceived message effectiveness also increased; (2) as the number of content matches increased, participants reported stronger intentions and as number of feature matches increased, participants perceived the message as more effective; (3) attitude and perceived normative pressure content variables predicted favorable intentions while ethnicity was the only feature variable to predicted favorable message persuasiveness; and (4) receiving tailored messages on the direct measures of the integrative model influenced the corresponding indirect measure. These results provide support for highly tailored interventions promoting the use of the integrative model and allow for the identification of the active components of tailored nicotine replacement patch messages. ^

Subject Area

Health Sciences, Public Health|Web Studies|Education, Health|Mass Communications

Recommended Citation

Curtis, Brenda L, "Examining the mechanisms of tailoring: Extending the integrative model of behavioral prediction" (2010). Dissertations available from ProQuest. AAI3414111.