Shenghao Zhang, Michael Dieciuc, Andrew Dilanchian, Mia Liza A. Lustria, Dawn Carr, Neil Charness, Zhe He, Walter R. Boot

Adherence Promotion With Tailored Motivational Messages: Proof of Concept and Message Preferences in Older Adults

  • Geriatrics and Gerontology

This study examined the feasibility of using tailored text messages to promote adherence to longitudinal protocols and determined what facets of text message tone influence motivation. Forty-three older adults ( Mage = 73.21, SD = 5.37) were recruited to engage in video-game-based cognitive training for 10 consecutive days. Participants received encouraging text messages each morning that matched their highest or lowest ranking reasons for participating in the study, after which they rated how effective each message was in motivating them to play the games that day. After 10 days, participants rated all possible messages and participated in semi-structured interviews to elicit their preferences for these messages. Results showed that messages matching participants’ reasons for participating were more motivating than mismatched messages. Further, participants preferred messages that were personalized (i.e., use second person voice) and in formal tones. Messages consistent with these preferences were also rated as more motivating. These findings establish the feasibility of using message tailoring to promote adherence to longitudinal protocols and the relevance of tailoring messages to be personal and formal.

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