Consumer retention of risk information from direct-to-consumer advertising

Donald L. Sullivan, Jon C. Schommer, Stephen W. Birdwell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


The objective of this study was to determine if consumers retain risk information from direct-to-consumer advertising (DTCA). The study design utilized a postgroup only control group design. Study participants Were randomly selected from a statewide database of men between the ages of 60- 75. These sampling criteria were selected because the ads used in the study were related to Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH). The 1093 participants were randomly assigned to one of three groups: disease-specific institutional ad group, product-specific ad group, or the control group. Participants in the two treatment groups were sent ads at one-week intervals for three weeks. A self-administered mailed questionnaire was used for data collection and mailed one week after the last ad was sent. The results show there was no statistically significant difference among the three groups regarding the correct answering of any of the risk information questions. A post hoc analysis of the data by whether the respondents indicated they had seen an ad for the product or had used the product in the past, however, yielded different results. Respondents who reported they had seen an ad for the product could have seen the ad from some other media source other than the intervention used in this study. These results show that having seen an ad for the product in the past does increase risk information retention. Past experience in taking the product, however, provides an even greater degree of retention of risk information, but may also provide a false sense of knowledge regarding some types of risk information.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)281-289
Number of pages9
JournalDrug Information Journal
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1999


  • DTCA
  • Direct-to-consumer advertising
  • Risk information


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