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Lay Theories of Medicine and a Healthy Lifestyle

  • Wenbo Wang
  • Hean Tat Keh
  • Lisa E. Bolton

This research proposes that consumers hold "lay theories of medicine" that guide their preferences and behaviors in the health domain. Lay theories of medicine incorporate lay beliefs about illnesses and symptoms (i.e., a form of lay diagnosis that may feature causal [un]certainty) and lay beliefs about health remedies (i.e., a treatment function that takes into account how consumers think remedies work, including the focus and action rapidity of treatment as additional dimensions of response efficacy). According to the conceptual framework, lay diagnosis and treatment beliefs together drive consumer preference among alternative health remedies, which, in turn, has downstream consequences for a healthy lifestyle. A series of studies finds support for this framework in an investigation of Western medicine and its Eastern counterparts (traditional Chinese and Ayurvedic medicines) among Chinese, Indian, and Asian American consumers. (c) 2009 by JOURNAL OF CONSUMER RESEARCH, Inc..

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Article provided by Oxford University Press in its journal Journal of Consumer Research.

Volume (Year): 37 (2010)
Issue (Month): 1 (06)
Pages: 80-97

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Handle: RePEc:ucp:jconrs:v:37:y:2010:i:1:p:80-97
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