A model of tailoring effects: A randomized controlled trial examining the mechanisms of tailoring in a web-based STD screening intervention

Mia Liza A. Lustria*, Juliann Cortese, Mary A. Gerend, Karla Schmitt, Ying Mai Kung, Casey McLaughlin

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

15 Scopus citations

Abstract

Objective: This study explores the mechanisms of tailoring within the context of RU@Risk a brief Web-based intervention designed to promote sexually transmitted disease (STD) testing among young adults. This is one of a few studies to empirically examine theorized message processing mechanisms of tailoring and persuasion outcomes in a single model. Method: Sexually active college students (N = 1065) completed a pretest, were randomly assigned to explore a tailored or nontailored website, completed a posttest, and were offered the opportunity to order a free at-home STD test kit. As intervention effects were hypothesized to work via increases in perceived risk, change in perceived risk from pretest to posttest by condition was examined. Hypothesized mechanisms of tailoring (perceived personal relevance, attention, and elaboration) were examined using structural equation modeling (SEM). All analyses controlled for demographic variables and sexual history. Results: As predicted, perceived risk of STDs increased from pretest to posttest, but only in the tailored condition. Results revealed that exposure to the tailored (vs. nontailored) website increased perceived personal relevance, attention to, and elaboration of the message. These effects in turn were associated with greater perceived risk of STDs and intentions to get tested. Additionally, participants in the tailored condition were more likely to order a test kit. Conclusions: Findings provide insight into the mechanisms of tailoring with important implications for optimizing message design.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1214-1224
Number of pages11
JournalHealth Psychology
Volume35
Issue number11
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 1 2016

Keywords

  • Behavior change intervention
  • Elaboration likelihood model
  • STD prevention
  • Tailoring
  • Web-based intervention

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Applied Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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