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Clicking for Care: Best Practices in Digital Preventive Services Messaging for Young Adults

In 2017, Young Invincibles (YI) conducted focus groups and interviews with young adults ages 18 to 34 in Colorado to learn more about which messages and online images would motivate them to get preventive health care services. Three key themes emerged from these conversations:

The top message that motivates young adults to get preventive care is that preventive services are free with a health plan. This was true for the young adults with whom we spoke regardless of their age, gender, or race/ethnicity. However, most young adults did not know that they could get preventive services at no additional cost with their health insurance.

Young people prefer messages that speak directly to their own health care needs. Young adults responded positively to outreach materials that listed a few recommended preventive services for them based on their gender and age. Similarly, young adults preferred online images that included people who were the same gender and race/ethnicity as them and reflected the culture and surroundings of the place where they lived.

Different messages motivate different segments of the young adult population. In general, young adults ages 26 to 34, young women, first generation immigrants, and young parents preferred messages that focused on taking personal responsibility for your health or getting preventive care for your own peace of mind. Messages around “adulting” or getting an annual check up to make your parents happy were motivating for some young adults, particularly white men ages 18 to 25, but did not resonate as strongly with all young people.

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