Category: Adult Depression / Dysthymia
Direct to consumer advertisement (DTCA) of prescription medications is marketing directly to consumers through multiple media outlets (television, internet). DTCA is effective in increasing both needed and unneeded antidepressant prescriptions (Avery et al., 2012; Block, 2007).
Although DTCA exposure and DTCA attitudes predicts DTCA prompted behaviors (seeking more information or asking for a prescription), past investigation suggest that responsiveness may be more strongly predicted by personal beliefs and experiences an individual has prior to seeing an antidepressant advertisement. We (Lauderdale & Nelson,2014) found that biological beliefs about the causes of depression, having depressive symptoms,and a preference for antidepressant medication treatment was more strongly predictive of positive attitudes about and intent to seek antidepressant medication than beliefs about psychological causes of depression and anxiety symptoms. Identifying beliefs increasing DTCA responsiveness is critical antidepressant advertisements may result in lower self-efficacy for symptom management and use of complementary health related behaviors (Bolton et al., 2008; Kemp et al., 2016).
We expand on our previous work and investigate whether depressive symptoms, familiarity with depression (having depression or knowing someone with depression), biological beliefs about the causes of depression and dysfunctional attitudes associated with depression will be more strongly predictive of positive attitudes about and intent to seek antidepressant medication than DTCA skepticism (beliefs that DTCA is misleading), psychological beliefs about the causes of depression, and DTCA exposure.We also assess if DTCA exposure will increase positive attitudes about and intent to seek antidepressant treatment when compared to a public service announcement about depression. Undergraduate students completed measures discussed above and were randomly assigned to either watch a nationally televised antidepressant commercial or a public service announcement about depression. Afterwards, participants completed follow-up measures. Data collection is on-going but preliminary data has been collected from 36 participants (n=25 women; mean age 21 years; mean 14 years of education; 60% report ethnic identification as white). Neither depression, dysfunctional attitudes, biological beliefs about causes of depression, level of familiarity with depression, DTCA skepticism, psychological beliefs about causes of depression, or DTCA exposure were correlated with positive attitudes about and behavioral intentions to seek antidepressant medications. Watching a depression PSA did not change positive attitudes about or behavioral intentions to seek antidepressant medication (all Zs < 1.0, ps >.05, nonparametric Wilcoxen Signed Ranks Tests). Watching an antidepressant commercial increased instrumental affective attitudes about antidepressant medication (“It would be useful for me to take antidepressant medication”; Z = 2.12, p< .05) and perceived behavior control (“If I really wanted to, I could get antidepressant medication”; Z = 2.42, p < .05) about obtaining antidepressant medication.
Sean Lauderdale– Assistant Professor, Texas A&M University-Commerce, Commerce, Texas