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Why are Tailored Messages More Effective? A Multiple Mediation Analysis of a Breast Cancer Screening Intervention


Corresponding author: Jakob D. Jensen; e-mail:


Past research has found that tailoring increases the persuasive effectiveness of a message. However, the observed effect has been small and the explanatory mechanism remains unknown. To address these shortcomings, a tailoring software program was created that personalized breast cancer screening pamphlets according to risk, health belief model constructs, and visual preference. Women aged 40 and older (N = 119) participated in a 2 (Tailored vs. Stock Message) × 2 (Charts/Graphs vs. Illustrated Visuals) × 3 (Nested Replications of the Visuals) experiment. Participants provided with tailored illustrated pamphlets expressed greater breast cancer screening intentions than those provided with other pamphlets. In a test of 10 different mediators, perceived message relevance was found to fully mediate the Tailoring × Visual interaction.