Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item:
Type: Thesis
Title: A psychological approach to understanding and resisting the influence of advertising from the pharmaceutical industry.
Author: Ong, Brennan
Issue Date: 2015
School/Discipline: School of Psychology
Abstract: There is a growing concern that the marketing of pharmaceutical products exerts undue influence over healthcare professionals. However, there is a lack of empirical evidence to substantiate or refute this. Furthermore, the pharmaceutical industry’s marketing strategy has evolved to a two-pronged approach, incorporating consumer-directed marketing activities alongside the more traditional direct-to-physician marketing. In response, my thesis reports on two parallel lines of research that tackles each prong. In a series of randomised controlled experiments, I have 1) sought to provide more empirical evidence for the impact of pharmaceutical promotion on healthcare professionals and 2) evaluated an educational intervention developed to combat consumer-directed disease awareness advertisements disseminated by the pharmaceutical industry. First, I attempted to replicate and advance Grande, Frosch, Perkins, and Kahn (2009)’s work by investigating whether exposure to pharmaceutical print advertising can shift medical students’ implicit attitude towards the advertised product, such that the individual exhibits a stronger positive association with the advertised product relative to a non-advertised product. Implicit attitudes were measured using an Implicit Association Test (IAT) designed to assess the strength of association between the advertised/non-advertised product and a list of positive/negative words. I could not replicate Grande and colleagues’ (2009) findings because of difficulties recruiting enough participants. A lack of statistical power meant that I could not make any inferences or draw any conclusions with confidence. However, the experiment did illuminate methodological issues associated with the IAT. Next, I investigated the effectiveness of an educational intervention that informs the general public about industry-sponsored disease awareness campaigns and encourages the cultivation of healthy scepticism (i.e. having a critical eye when evaluating information) towards such potentially biased and misleading sources of health information. Specifically, I investigated the impact of this intervention on participants’ ability to identify the sponsor of a disease awareness advertisement, their attitudes towards such ads, their perceptions of the medical conditions discussed in the ads, their scepticism towards pharmaceutical advertising, and their behavioural intentions after viewing the ads. Across three experiments, I consistently demonstrated that the intervention increased participants’ sponsor identification accuracy and their scepticism towards pharmaceutical advertising. Healthy scepticism was consistently observed with regards to the perceived value of an ad. Participants who underwent the intervention were less likely to agree that an ad was valuable only when it was industry-sponsored. However, there was more inconsistency for measures, such as participants’ reported behavioural intentions, that required them to think through the implications of their attitude changes.
Advisor: Semmler, Carolyn
Mansfield, Peter R.
Dissertation Note: Thesis (Ph.D.) -- University of Adelaide, School of Psychology, 2015
Keywords: pharmaceutical; advertising; direct-to-customer; DTCA; disease awareness; persuasion; implicit association test; educational intervention; illusion of unique invulnerability; bias blind spot; mere exposure effect
Provenance: This electronic version is made publicly available by the University of Adelaide in accordance with its open access policy for student theses. Copyright in this thesis remains with the author. This thesis may incorporate third party material which has been used by the author pursuant to Fair Dealing exceptions. If you are the owner of any included third party copyright material you wish to be removed from this electronic version, please complete the take down form located at:
Appears in Collections:Research Theses

Files in This Item:
File Description SizeFormat 
01front.pdf138.99 kBAdobe PDFView/Open
02whole.pdf42.06 MBAdobe PDFView/Open
PermissionsLibrary staff access only523.92 kBAdobe PDFView/Open
Restricted_1Library staff access only43.22 MBAdobe PDFView/Open
Restricted_2Library staff access only43.18 MBAdobe PDFView/Open

Items in DSpace are protected by copyright, with all rights reserved, unless otherwise indicated.