Date of Award

8-15-2013

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Psychology (PsyD)

Department

Psychology

First Advisor

William Meil, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

David LaPorte, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

William Farrell, Ph.D.

Abstract

This study investigated the impact pharmaceutical advertising has on participants' allocation of monetary resources to treat depression. The study randomly selected undergraduate students from the General Psychology subject pool at Indiana University of Pennsylvania (N=193). Demographic data was collected and participants were evaluated for beliefs and knowledge about prescription medications, personal and family history of depression and, in order to mask the true purpose of the study, past behaviors and beliefs about prescription medications and herbal supplements. Participants were assigned randomly to one of two groups: one in which participants were shown a series of videos on depression including an informative piece, a piece on psychotherapy for depression, a piece on pharmacological treatments for depression, a section on herbal treatment for depression, and a pharmaceutical advertisement for depression medication. The second version contained the same video clips with the pharmaceutical advertisement removed and replaced with a public service announcement about depression. All participants were asked to allocate $500 in $50 increments among a variety of strategies to treat the depression of a character in a vignette. The findings were analyzed using ANCOVA, Hierarchical Multiple Regression, and a T-test. The results of this study indicated that pharmaceutical advertising may not impact college students' decision to allocate more money for medication when treating depression. This study also found exposure to pharmaceutical advertisement information does not impact endorsement of mild to moderate depression. While it was not a primary hypothesis, positive attitude towards DTCA (direct-to-consumer advertising) appeared to increase allocation of money to antidepressants. Also positive attitude toward antidepressant use increased the amount of money allocated to antidepressant use and should be further explored.

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