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Health Psychol. 2007 Jul;26(4):513-7.

What makes consumers think dietary supplements are safe and effective? The role of disclaimers and FDA approval.

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  • 1Department of Psychology, George Washington University, Washington, DC 20052, USA. tdodge@gwu.edu

Abstract

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.

Copyright 2007 APA.

PMID:
17605572
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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