Consumers young and old: segmenting the target markets for direct-to-consumer prescription drug advertising

Health Mark Q. 2011 Oct;28(4):337-53. doi: 10.1080/07359683.2011.623112.


Direct-to-consumer pharmaceutical advertising (DTCA) studies have typically focused on older adults or a general population of adults. However, college students are viable targets for DTCA and are receiving more research attention in this area. In this article, we compare college students with two adult age segments. Our findings indicate all age groups had relatively high awareness of DTCA and similar attitudes and behavioral responses to the ads. However, there were significant differences in media use and health characteristics as well as the factors predicting DTCA ad trust, attitudes, and behavioral intentions. Implications and future research suggestions are discussed.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Advertising / methods*
  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Drug Industry / organization & administration*
  • Female
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Marketing of Health Services / organization & administration
  • Mass Media
  • Middle Aged
  • Patient Acceptance of Health Care
  • Prescription Drugs*
  • Students
  • Trust
  • Universities
  • Young Adult


  • Prescription Drugs