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Antidepressant advertising effects on drug knowledge and drug seeking

Glenn M. Callaghan (Department of Psychology, San José State University, San José, California, USA)
Sean Laraway (Department of Psychology, San José State University, San José, California, USA)
Susan Snycerski (Department of Psychology, San José State University, San José, California, USA)
Shannon C. McGee (Department of Psychology, San José State University, San José, California, USA)

Journal of Consumer Marketing

ISSN: 0736-3761

Article publication date: 26 April 2013

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Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to determine the extent to which exposure to a television commercial for an antidepressant drug (Cymbalta®) compared to another commercial (Weight Watchers®) influenced participants' knowledge of the drug (including side effects and indications) and self‐reported likelihood of seeking an antidepressant medication.

Design/methodology/approach

A randomized‐group design with two conditions was used with a sample of an ethnically diverse group of college students (n=498). Scores assessing drug knowledge and self‐reported likelihood of drug seeking and scores from the Beck Depression Inventory‐II (BDI‐II) were analyzed.

Findings

The Cymbalta® group had higher drug‐knowledge scores than did the control group. Differences in drug‐seeking scores across conditions were not significant; however, drug‐knowledge scores and drug‐seeking scores were negatively related. Across groups, BDI‐II scores were positively related to drug seeking.

Research limitations/implications

These results suggest that direct‐to‐consumer (DTC) advertising may educate consumers regarding medications, at least in the short term. Self‐reported intention to seek an antidepressant medication was significantly higher in participants who met the BDI‐II threshold for major depressive disorder, regardless of experimental condition.

Practical implications

A decreased desire to seek antidepressants, possibly due to increased familiarity with drug side‐effects, suggests that advertising may be educating viewers about important concerns about medication and that may impact their desire to seek those drugs.

Originality/value

Direct‐to‐consumer advertising (DTCA) of pharmaceuticals remains controversial, yet few experimental studies have examined the effects of DTCA on drug knowledge and drug‐seeking behavior of potential consumers.

Keywords

Citation

Callaghan, G.M., Laraway, S., Snycerski, S. and McGee, S.C. (2013), "Antidepressant advertising effects on drug knowledge and drug seeking", Journal of Consumer Marketing, Vol. 30 No. 3, pp. 267-272. https://doi.org/10.1108/07363761311328937

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2013, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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