Date of Award

2009

Degree Name

Journalism

College

W. Page Pitt School of Journalism and Mass Communication

Type of Degree

M.A.J.

Document Type

Thesis

First Advisor

Chris Swindell

Second Advisor

Janet Dooley

Third Advisor

Dan Hollis

Abstract

This exploratory study was designed to determine the effects, if any, of direct-to-consumer advertising of anti-depressants on Marshall University students’ perceptions of depression and anti-depressant medication. For the purposes of the study, two versions of an advertisement were created: one including three false statements regarding depression and antidepressants, and one without false statements. A fifteen-question survey was also created as a baseline to measure whether the advertisement condition had any direct effects on the participants’ perceptions of depression and anti-depression and to provide comparison for the participants’ reactions. All three groups took the survey. There were ninety participants in the study, split into three groups of thirty, including a group that viewed the commercial with false statements, a group that viewed the commercial without false statements, and a control group that did not view any advertisement. Analysis of the results revealed that there was not a significant link between the information presented in the advertisement conditions and participants’ perceptions of depression and anti-depressants. The participants’ responses on the survey did not appear to be influenced by the false information in the advertisement. Results did not support the expectation that the advertising condition would significantly alter the perceptions of college students regarding depression and its treatment.

Subject(s)

Advertising.

Drugs and mass media.

Advertising - Drugs.