Lay Theories of Medicine and a Healthy Lifestyle
Stern School of Business, New York University
Hean Tat Keh
affiliation not provided to SSRN; Peking University
Pennsylvania State University
June 1, 2010
Journal of Consumer Research, Vol. 37, No. 1, pp. 80-97, 2010
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.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 18
Keywords: lay theory, consumer behavior, remedy, healthy lifestyle, Western medicine, traditional Chinese medicines, Ayurvedic medicines
JEL Classification: C91Accepted Paper Series
Date posted: June 30, 2010
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