Does tailoring matter? Meta-analytic review of tailored print health behavior change interventions

Psychol Bull. 2007 Jul;133(4):673-93. doi: 10.1037/0033-2909.133.4.673.


Although there is a large and growing literature on tailored print health behavior change interventions, it is currently not known if or to what extent tailoring works. The current study provides a meta-analytic review of this literature, with a primary focus on the effects of tailoring. A comprehensive search strategy yielded 57 studies that met inclusion criteria. Those studies-which contained a cumulative N = 58,454-were subsequently meta-analyzed. The sample size-weighted mean effect size of the effects of tailoring on health behavior change was found to be r = .074. Variables that were found to significantly moderate the effect included (a) type of comparison condition, (b) health behavior, (c) type of participant population (both type of recruitment and country of sample), (d) type of print material, (e) number of intervention contacts, (f) length of follow-up, (g) number and type of theoretical concepts tailored on, and (h) whether demographics and/or behavior were tailored on. Implications of these results are discussed and future directions for research on tailored health messages and interventions are offered.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Child
  • Communication*
  • Female
  • Health Behavior*
  • Health Education / methods*
  • Health Promotion / methods*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Patient Acceptance of Health Care / psychology*
  • Teaching Materials*
  • United States