Objective: The present study was designed to examine the effect of the Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) regulatory framework on beliefs about the safety and effectiveness of a dietary supplement.
Design: An experimental study was conducted with a sample of college students (N = 262). Participants read a description of a dietary supplement, and the experimental manipulations were embedded in the product description.
Main outcome measures: Primary measures of interest included overall knowledge of the FDA's role in regulating dietary supplements and safety and effectiveness ratings of the dietary supplement.
Results: Results demonstrated that individuals were not very knowledgeable about the FDA's role in regulating dietary supplements. Making participants explicitly aware that the FDA did not approve a dietary supplement lowered safety ratings of the supplement but had no influence on effectiveness ratings. The opposite results were obtained for a structure-function disclaimer in which the presence of the disclaimer lowered effectiveness ratings of the supplement but did not affect safety ratings.
Conclusion: Results highlight the importance of educating individuals about the FDA's role in regulating dietary supplements.
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