Marketing Therapy to Parents Concerned About Adolescent Substance Use: Association of Adolescent Problems and Parent Preferences for Direct-to-Consumer Marketing

Sarah A. Helseth*, Katherine I. Escobar, Melissa A. Clark, Anthony Spirito, Sara J. Becker

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations

Abstract

Parent-directed marketing strategies have great potential to promote the utilization of therapy by adolescents with or at risk of substance-related problems. The extent to which marketing strategies should be tailored to parents of adolescents with various presenting problems—such as substance use, mental health, and legal involvement—is unknown. The current study represents a secondary analysis of a direct-to-consumer marketing survey, which used a well-established framework called the Marketing Mix to solicit parent preferences about marketing across 3 dimensions: promotion (i.e., how parents prefer to receive information); place (i.e., where parents prefer to receive therapy); and price (i.e., how much parents are willing to pay and how far parents are willing to travel). Four hundred eleven parents of 12-to 19-year-old adolescents (51% girls, 82% non-Hispanic White) completed the survey and answered 5 questions spanning promotion, price, and place dimensions of the Marketing Mix. A subsample of 158 parents also reported on their actual therapy-seeking behavior, allowing us to report on both parents’ ideal and actual experiences. We explored the extent to which parent preferences varied as a function of adolescent substance use, externalizing, internalizing, and legal problems. Bivariate analyses and multivariate logistic regressions were used to examine which of these variables were associated with parents’ responses to specific survey items. Analyses confirmed that both parent preferences and parents’ actual therapy-seeking behavior varied as a function of adolescent problems. Recommendations are offered for professional psychologists to use direct-to-consumer marketing strategies to connect with adolescents in need of services.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)68-76
Number of pages9
JournalProfessional Psychology: Research and Practice
Volume51
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - 2020

Keywords

  • adolescent
  • direct-to-consumer marketing
  • marketing mix
  • parent
  • substance use

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)

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