Comprehension of information in three direct-to-consumer television prescription drug advertisements among adults with limited literacy

J Health Commun. 2005 Oct-Nov;10(7):609-19. doi: 10.1080/10810730500267647.


Direct-to-consumer (DTC) television advertisements present a number of facts about prescription drug risks and benefits in a brief time. This study assessed comprehension of information in three advertisements among 50 adults with limited literacy. Participants correctly answered an average of 59% of comprehension questions. The percentage of respondents correctly answering individual comprehension questions ranged from 26% to 92%. A multivariate analysis suggested that type of information (risk vs. other) and channel (text vs. audio) predicted comprehension. There was a significant interaction effect for literacy and place of birth. Our results suggest key areas for future research on comprehension of DTC advertising.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Advertising*
  • Aged
  • Comprehension*
  • Educational Status*
  • Ethnicity
  • Female
  • Health Status
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pharmaceutical Preparations*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Television*


  • Pharmaceutical Preparations