A word of advice: how to tailor motivational text messages based on behavior change theory to personality and gender

Roelof A.J. de Vries*, Khiet P. Truong, Cristina Zaga, Jamy Li, Vanessa Evers

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)
119 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

Developing systems that motivate people to change their behaviors, such as an exercise application for the smartphone, is challenging. One solution is to implement motivational strategies from existing behavior change theory and tailor these strategies to preferences based on personal characteristics, like personality and gender. We operationalized strategies by collecting representative motivational text messages and aligning the messages to ten theory-based behavior change strategies. We conducted an online survey with 350 participants, where the participants rated 50 of our text messages (each aligned to one of the ten strategies) on how motivating they found them. Results show that differences in personality and gender relate to significant differences in the evaluations of nine out of ten strategies. Eight out of ten strategies were perceived as either more or less motivating in relation to scores on the personality traits Openness, Extraversion, and Agreeableness. Four strategies were perceived as more motivating by men than by women. These findings show that personality and gender influence how motivational strategies are perceived. We conclude that our theory-based behavior change strategies can be more motivating by tailoring them to personality and gender of users of behavior change systems.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)675-687
Number of pages13
JournalPersonal and ubiquitous computing
Volume21
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2017

Keywords

  • Behavior change
  • Behavior change systems
  • Processes of change
  • Tailoring
  • Transtheoretical model

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