Promoting fruit and vegetable intake through messages tailored to individual differences in regulatory focus

Ann Behav Med. 2008 Jun;35(3):363-9. doi: 10.1007/s12160-008-9039-6. Epub 2008 Aug 1.


Background: Researchers must identify strategies to optimize the persuasiveness of messages used in public education campaigns encouraging fruit and vegetable (FV) intake.

Purpose: This study examined whether tailoring messages to individuals' regulatory focus (RF), the tendency to be motivated by promotion versus prevention goals, increased the persuasiveness of messages encouraging greater FV intake.

Method: Participants (n = 518) completed an assessment of their RF and were randomly assigned to receive either prevention- or promotion-oriented messages. Messages were mailed 1 week, 2 months, and 3 months after the baseline interview. Follow-up assessments were conducted 1 and 4 months after the baseline assessment.

Results: Regression analyses revealed that at Month 4, the messages were somewhat more efficacious when congruent with participants' RF.

Conclusion: RF may be a promising target for developing tailored messages promoting increased FV intake, and particularly for encouraging individuals to meet FV guidelines.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Feeding Behavior
  • Female
  • Fruit*
  • Health Promotion / methods*
  • Humans
  • Individuality*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Motivation*
  • National Cancer Institute (U.S.)
  • Neoplasms / prevention & control
  • Persuasive Communication*
  • Regression Analysis
  • United States
  • Vegetables*