Just-in-the-Moment Adaptive Interventions (JITAI): A Meta-Analytical Review

Health Commun. 2020 Nov;35(12):1531-1544. doi: 10.1080/10410236.2019.1652388. Epub 2019 Sep 5.


A just-in-time, adaptive intervention (JITAI) is an emerging type of intervention that provides tailored support at the exact time of need. It does so using enabling new technologies (e.g., mobile phones, sensors) that capture the changing states of individuals. Extracting effect sizes of primary outcomes produced by 33 empirical studies that used JITAIs, we found moderate to large effect sizes of JITAI treatments compared to (1) waitlist-control conditions (k = 9), Hedges's g = 1.65 and (2) non-JITAI treatments (k = 21), g = 0.89. Also, participants of JITAI interventions showed significant changes (k = 13) in the positive direction (g = 0.79). A series of sensitivity tests suggested that those effects persist. Those effects also persist despite differences in the behaviors of interests (e.g., blood glucose control, recovering alcoholics), duration of the treatments, and participants' age. Two aspects of tailoring, namely: (1) tailoring to what (i.e., both people's previous behavioral patterns and their current need states; with these effects additive) and (2) approach to tailoring (i.e., both using a human agent and an algorithm to decide tailored feedback; with these effects additive), are significantly associated with greater JITAI efficacy.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis

MeSH terms

  • Behavior Therapy*
  • Cell Phone*
  • Humans