Community Mental Health Journal

, Volume 53, Issue 5, pp 534–541 | Cite as

The Effects of Direct-To-Consumer-Advertising on Mental Illness Beliefs and Stigma

Original Paper


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.


Beliefs Stigma Advertisement Medication Mental illness 


Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

The author declares that he has no conflict of interest.

Ethical Approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Informed Consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants include in the study.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of Northern IowaCedar FallsUSA

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