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Computer-tailored interventions to facilitate health behavioural change
  1. Luke Wolfenden1,2,
  2. Nicole Nathan1,2,
  3. Christopher M Williams1,2,3
  1. 1Hunter Medical Research Institute, Newcastle, New South Wales, Australia
  2. 2School of Medicine and Public Health, University of Newcastle, Newcastle, New South Wales, Australia
  3. 3The George Institute for Global Health, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
  1. Correspondence to Dr Luke Wolfenden, School of Medicine and Public Health, The University of Newcastle, Newcastle, NSW 2000, Australia; luke.wolfenden{at}

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This section features a recent systematic review that is indexed on PEDro, the Physiotherapy Evidence Database ( PEDro is a free, web-based database of evidence relevant to physiotherapy.

▸ Krebs P, Prochaska JO, Rossi JS. Defining what works in tailoring: a meta-analysis of computer-tailored interventions for health behaviour change. Prev Med 2010;51:214–21.


Much of the chronic disease burden could be averted through adoption of healthy lifestyle behaviours.1 Print and computer communication channels have the capacity to reach large numbers of people at relatively low cost.2 Previous reviews have suggested that computer tailoring, that is selecting communication content based on data-driven decision rules following an individual assessment, may improve the effectiveness of such interventions.3


This systematic review aimed to assess the effect of computer-tailored interventions focusing on four health behaviours (smoking cessation, physical activity, diet and regular mammography screening). Moderators of effect were also examined.

Searches and inclusion criteria

Four electronic databases and reference lists of relevant studies were searched independently by two reviewers for trials published between 1988 and 2009. Eligible studies were trials comparing computer-tailored interventions, delivered primarily via communication channels that did not use live counsellors, …

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  • Contributors LW, NN and CMW selected the review and interpreted the findings. LW wrote the initial draft. All authors critically appraised the paper, commented on manuscript drafts and approved the final version.

  • Competing interests None.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.