The Effects of Direct-To-Consumer-Advertising on Mental Illness Beliefs and Stigma
Despite widespread use, little is known about how video direct-to-consumer-advertising (DTCA) influences beliefs about or stigma towards mental illness. The purpose of this study was to examine the effects of a medication advertisement on beliefs and stigma towards one mental disorder—bipolar disorder. A total of 424 participants were randomly assigned to view a medication or automobile advertisement and completed measures of beliefs and stigma towards bipolar disorder before and immediately after the advertisement. The medication advertisement did not lead to changes in perception of biological etiology, but did lead to increases in perception of prevalence, treatability, and controllability. No substantive changes were noted in stigma. In contrast to previous research and speculation, DTCA did not have an immediate, substantial impact on stigma or contribute to the “medicalization” of mental disorders.