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Tailored and Targeted Health Communication: Strategies for Enhancing Information Relevance

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Objective: To discuss tailored messages in the broader context of communication strategies designed to enhance the relevance of health information to a given audience. Methods: Describe specific mechanisms through which tailored health communication can enhance message relevance and identify situations in which the use of tailoring is most appropriate. Results: Overall, tailored messages appear to stimulate greater cognitive activity than do messages that are not tailored. However, non-tailored messages that happen to be a good fit for a given individual also have similar effects. Conclusion: Health communication programs and materials that succeed in making information relevant to their intended audience will be more effective than those that do not. Tailoring is a proven approach to enhancing message relevance, but not the only approach to do so, and under many circumstances may not be the preferred choice.

Keywords: elaboration likelihood model; relevance; tailored communication

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Health Communication Research Laboratory, School of Public Health, Saint Louis University, St. Louis, MO.

Publication date: November 1, 2003

More about this publication?
  • The American Journal of Health Behavior seeks to improve the quality of life through multidisciplinary health efforts in fostering a better understanding of the multidimensional nature of both individuals and social systems as they relate to health behaviors.

    The Journal aims to provide a comprehensive understanding of the impact of personal attributes, personality characteristics, behavior patterns, social structure, and processes on health maintenance, health restoration, and health improvement; to disseminate knowledge of holistic, multidisciplinary approaches to designing and implementing effective health programs; and to showcase health behavior analysis skills that have been proven to affect health improvement and recovery.

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