Recalling and Intending to Enact Health Recommendations: Optimal Number of Prescribed Behaviors in Multibehavior Messages

Jack McDonald, Patrick McDonald, Colleen Hughes, Dolores Albarracín

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Two experiments investigated the effects of the number of health recommendations (e.g., quit smoking; relax for a day) contained in a health-promotion message on recommendation recall and intentions to enact the recommendations. We hypothesized that if recommendations are stored individually, a higher number of presented recommendations will increase the number of recalled recommendations. As the number of recommendations increases, however, recipients are likely to summarize more recommendations as part of a single, more general theme (or header), resulting in a decrease in the proportion of recalled recommendations. Two experiments (N = 193 and N = 266) found that the total number of recalled recommendations increased and the proportion of recalled recommendations decreased with the number of presented recommendations. Experiment 2 replicated the findings with the number and the proportion of intended behaviors. The implications of these findings for future behavioral health interventions are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)858-865
Number of pages8
JournalClinical Psychological Science
Volume5
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 1 2017

Keywords

  • behavioral intervention
  • memory
  • motivation
  • multibehavior intervention
  • public health

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology

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