A review: How user characteristics affect the effectiveness of persuasive strategies in the health promotion domain of online interventions

Ginters, N. (2016) A review: How user characteristics affect the effectiveness of persuasive strategies in the health promotion domain of online interventions.

Abstract:Background:!Disease and health problems due to unhealthy life-style or poor health behaviour are serious challenges of our present society, resulting in high costs for the health care system. Over the last decade the development of web-based interventions and applications increased. Usually, they contain Persuasive Technology (PT) elements to promote behaviour change. However, PT strategies do not seem to be equally effective for all users. That is why tailoring PT strategies to the needs of the users becomes increasingly important in the development of online interventions. Still, it remains to be identified how the PT strategies should be tailored to the user to achieve most positive outcome. Hence, the aim of this study is to review differences in user characteristics and their influence on the effectiveness of PT principles. Method: In this review a literature search in different online databases was conducted to find studies in which PT strategies were applied with the aim of changing health related behaviour. Selection criteria were used to include studies, which investigate the influence of different user characteristics on PT strategies. The PT elements described in the interventions were coded according to the principles of the Persuasive System Design model (PSD-model). The following characteristics were coded: study design, characteristics of the studies, condition and purpose of the study, PT in the intervention, examined user differences, influence of user differences on the effectiveness of PT strategies (outcome). Results: Following the search and selection procedure 10 studies were included. All reviewed articles contained an intervention or experiment that promoted healthy lifestyle. Dialogue support was most commonly employed, followed by primary task support. The most frequently applied PT principles were “reward” and “suggestion”. User differences that influenced the effectiveness of PT could be distinguished into 4 main topics: psychological factors, age, gender and education. Psychological factors occurred in 7 studies and were thereby most often examined in the reviewed articles. Conclusion: The literature review shows that! user characteristics influence the effectiveness of PT strategies in the health promotion domain of online interventions. Thus, tailoring interventions to individuals can lead to a better outcome of adopting healthy behaviour. The review gives a brief insight into preferred PT principles depending on the individual user characteristics. Due to the fact that there is most evidence about psychological factors to affect the effectiveness of PT strategies, tailoring PT strategies to this topic might be most promising.
Item Type:Essay (Master)
Faculty:BMS: Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences
Subject:77 psychology
Programme:Psychology MSc (66604)
Link to this item:http://purl.utwente.nl/essays/69584
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