Comparing tailored and narrative worksite interventions at increasing colonoscopy adherence in adults 50-75: A randomized controlled trial

Jakob D. Jensen, Andy J. King, Nick Carcioppolo, Melinda Krakow, N. Jewel Samadder, Susan Morgan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

29 Scopus citations


Research has identified several communication strategies that could increase adherence to colorectal cancer screening recommendations. Two promising strategies are tailoring and narrative-based approaches. Tailoring is the personalization of information based on individual characteristics. Narrative-based approaches use stories about similar others to counter perceived barriers and cultivate self-efficacy. To compare these two approaches, a randomized controlled trial was carried out at 8 worksites in Indiana. Adults 50-75 (N=209) received one of four messages about colorectal cancer screening: stock, narrative, tailored, tailored narrative. The primary outcome was whether participants filed a colonoscopy claim in the 18 months following the intervention. Individuals receiving narrative messages were 4 times more likely to screen than those not receiving narrative messages. Tailoring did not increase screening behavior overall. However, individuals with higher cancer information overload were 8 times more likely to screen if they received tailored messages. The results suggest that narrative-based approaches are more effective than tailoring at increasing colorectal cancer screening in worksite interventions. Tailoring may be valuable as a strategy for reaching individuals with high overload, perhaps as a follow-up effort to a larger communication campaign.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)31-40
Number of pages10
JournalSocial Science and Medicine
StatePublished - Mar 1 2014



  • Cancer information overload
  • Colonoscopy
  • Narratives
  • Randomized controlled trial
  • Tailoring
  • United States
  • Worksite interventions

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • History and Philosophy of Science

Cite this