This study explored the third-person effect in the context of direct-to-consumer (DTC) advertising. A survey of 264 adults examined perceptions of DTC ad effects and their relationship to support for DTC ad regulation. Results support the third-person-effect perceptual component. The study revealed that for DTC advertising, the third-person effect operates in a multidimensional fashion through four factors (Negative DTC Ad Effects, Learning and Involvement, Patient / Provider Interaction, and Distrust of DTC Ad Information) and that negative content-based third-person effects were greater than positive effects. However, the current study showed weak support for the third-person effect behavioral component. Only perceived self-effect for Distrust of DTC Ad Information and attitude toward DTC advertising were significant predictors of regulatory support. The findings are discussed in relation to existing theoretical work, and future research recommendations are provided.
- DTC advertising regulation
- DTC prescription drug advertising
- Third-person effect