How effective is tailored print communication?

Celette Sugg Skinner, Marci K. Campbell, Barbara K. Rimer, Susan Curry, James O. Prochaska

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

348 Scopus citations


This article reviews the 'first generation' of tailored print communications studies in the published literature, describing the purpose, theoretical framework, sample, research design, message type and source, outcomes measured, and findings of each. Eight studies compared tailored versus similar nontailored print; one compared tailored print versus an alternate intervention, and three included tailored print as one of several intervention components. Although studies varied by behavioral topic, type of tailoring, and measurement of behavioral outcomes, several themes persist. Compared to their nontailored counterparts, tailored print communications have been consistently better remembered, read, and perceived as relevant and/or credible. There is also evidence that tailored print communications are more effective for influencing health behaviors. Six of the eight tailored/nontailored comparisons found more behavior change among tailored than nontailored recipients. Tailored print communications have also demonstrated effectiveness as an adjunct to other intervention components such as self-help smoking cessation manuals. However, studies comparing tailored print communications with tailoring via other media such as telephone counseling have shown mixed results. Additional research is needed to assess whether the behavioral topic itself may make a difference in whether tailoring is appropriate and effective.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)290-298
Number of pages9
JournalAnnals of Behavioral Medicine
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1999

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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