Causes and consequences of trust in direct-to-consumer prescription drug advertising

Jennifer Gerard Ball, Danae Manika, Patricia Stout

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


Direct-to-consumer prescription drug advertising (DTCA) is believed to empower consumers, but national surveys indicate declining trust in DTCA. Given the unique characteristics of this category, it is unclear what the likely consequences are of reduced trust in these ads. Furthermore, previous research is inadequate to discern the basis of trust in DTCA. To address this issue, a model of the antecedent and consequent factors connected to trust in DTCA was developed based on prior empirical findings and relevant theory. This paper presents survey findings testing the model. Results show trust is predicted by perceptions of mediated health information sources, advertising in general, pharmaceutical companies, and the perceived value and informativeness of prescription drug ads. Regarding outcomes, results were mixed for the relationship of trust with attention, attitudes, and behavioural intent. Overall, findings suggest trust plays a complex role in shaping consumer reactions to prescription drug ads.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)216-247
Number of pages32
JournalInternational Journal of Advertising
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2016

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2015 Taylor & Francis.


  • Advertising
  • Direct-to-consumer
  • Pharmaceutical
  • Prescription drug
  • Structural equation model
  • Trust


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