Dr. Mom and other influences on younger and older adults' OTC medication purchases

E. C. Stephens, M. M.S. Johnson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


The present study examined age differences in the sources of information that older and younger adults use when making decisions about purchasing over-the-counter (OTC) cold/allergy medications. Participants completed a questionnaire addressing information sources that influence OTC purchases and advertising awareness. The questionnaire was given either before or after completing a decision task in which they searched a computerized display of label information and chose one of seven brand name medications to purchase. Analyses revealed age-related differences in sources of information considered and label information used when purchasing OTC medications. Priming participants to recall specific advertising claims using the questionnaire had little effect on the information used by younger or older adults. Younger adults relied on price and product use information, whereas older adults relied on side effect and drug interaction information. This finding has implications for OTC label design and health care professionals who counsel patients about OTC medication usage.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)441-459
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Applied Gerontology
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2000

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gerontology
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology


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