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J Gerontol. 1990 Jul;45(4):P166-72.

Effects of labeling techniques on memory and comprehension of prescription information in young and old adults.

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University of Georgia, Athens.


We conducted a study to determine the effects of presenting prescription information in a pictorial compared to a verbal format on comprehension and memory in young and old adults. Both comprehension and memory for drug information were studied as a function of age and presentation method. Participants received prescription instructions on actual medicine bottles in one of two formats: verbal instructions only, or verbal instructions mixed with pictorial representations. Results indicated that (a) younger adults' memory for prescription information was facilitated by the mixed instructions, but that mixed instructions appeared to hamper older adults' memory for prescription information; (b) younger adults recalled more information overall relative to older adults across both presentation conditions; and (c) older adults were less able to comprehend prescription information relative to younger adults. Results suggest that well-organized verbal prescription labels are more facilitative for the elderly and that additional efforts must be undertaken to improve the clarity of labeling on prescription drugs.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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