|dc.description.abstract||Self- medication with over-the-counter medicines (OTCs) is common practice, not only for adults, but also among adolescents. Tapping into this potentially lucrative segment of adolescents as consumers will require marketers and academic researchers to understand this market well. The long-term benefits are worthy of focus as the buying patterns developed during teenage years are likely to continue throughout adult lives. Furthermore, as this population begins to age, they become a stronger customer base for pharmaceutical products. The majority of studies about OTCs have been conducted from the perspective of pharmacists or healthcare professionals in medical sociology, pharmacy practice and public policy. Very limited research has examined these products from consumer behaviour perspectives.
Using a consumer socialisation perspective, this thesis seeks to understand how adolescents learn to use OTCs. In this investigation, we examine a number of possible relationships such as the degree to which an adolescent’s background may influence both the way s/he learns to be a consumer of OTC pharmaceuticals and consumption-relevant outcomes of knowledge, attitudes, and behaviours towards OTCs. In addition, the effect of socialisation agents such as family, peers, mass media, and medical personnel and retail staff on OTC-relevant knowledge, attitudes, and behaviours is examined. We wished to understand similarities and differences between adolescents living in Malaysia and New Zealand with respect to this product class; and, lastly, we wanted to uncover the possibility of a mediation effect of consumer socialisation processes in the relationship between adolescents’ backgrounds and OTC-relevant knowledge, attitudes and behaviours. Data was collected by way of classroom administration at high schools in Christchurch, New Zealand and Johor Bahru, Malaysia. A total of 509 (New Zealand n=276 and Malaysia n=233) usable responses were obtained.
Overall, the results of this study showed that self-medication with OTCs was widespread among respondents with a high percentage of them having purchased the medicines themselves. Results indicate that background variables, in general are marginally related to the influence of socialisation processes and consumption-relevant outcomes of knowledge, attitudes, and behaviours towards OTCs. While certain consumer socialisation processes influenced consumption-relevant outcomes, mediation effects were non-existent. Although some differences were noted between the cultures, overall, the results of this study suggest that New Zealand and Malaysian respondents were rather similar when it came to OTC-related consumer socialisation.||en