Indigenous message tailoring increases consumption of fresh vegetables by clients of community pantries.
Sommaire de l'article
This study tested whether message tailoring of recipes and food-use tips for low-income households is superior to providing a generic version of the material. The field experiment was conducted in the busy conditions found at community food pantries, and included 10 food distributions at each of six sites. We analyzed the consumption of fresh vegetables 6 days following distributions, and retention of print materials 6 weeks later. Self-determination and reactance theories guided the development of tailoring in an indigenous fashion, allowing each pantry client to choose recipes and food tips thought personally useful. This contrasted against paternalistic tailoring, common in health communication, where a motivational theory is used to regulate the health messages given to recipients. Results demonstrated benefits of tailoring over both generic and control conditions and uncovered the degree of tailoring that produced the largest effects. As suggested by construal level theory, the intervention addressed recipients’ immediate and concrete decisions about healthy eating, instead of distant or abstract goals like prevention of illnesses. We documented per-client costs of tailored information. Results also suggested that benefits from social capital at sites offering a health outreach may exceed the impact of message tailoring on outcomes of interest.