Aptitude x treatment interaction (ATI) has been used only rarely in patient education research. This research paradigm incorporates individual differences (aptitudes) into experimental studies exploring differences in information strategies (treatments). ATI has great potential for applications to patient education research. It identifies patient characteristics and optimal instructional treatments, it is compatible with psychological theories and clinical approaches alike, and it offers a specific method ology for approaching existing problems in a new way. This article presents studies in which ATI has illuminated specific patient needs and treatments, and suggested further applications. Three studies (in addition to those reviewed) are examined in depth. One study determined general guidelines for designing instructional literature to accom pany medication (drug package inserts), that would satisfy the requirements of a group of patients with varied reading ability. Another study examined the effect of patients’ “prior knowledge” on their participation in a health education program. A third study explored the interaction between patients’ view of self-control over their health and the use of different media for health-care instruction. Guidelines and considerations for conducting further ATI-based research are presented and discussed.
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