No Pain No Gain: the Use of Negative Cues As Indicators of Health Benefits

We explore consumers’ beliefs about the relationship between risks and benefits associated with medicines. Specifically, we focus on consumers’ reliance on the detriments of medications, including the likelihood and severity of side effects, when judging their potential benefits, such as their effectiveness. Based on equity theory, we propose that consumers believe that desirable health gains can often only be obtained through undesirable pains (i.e., no pain, no gain). We find support for our “no pain, no gain” lay theory of efficacy inferences based on a medication’s detriments in a series of studies with different types of detrimental product information.


Thomas Kramer, Caglar Irmak, and Lauren Bloch (2008) ,"No Pain No Gain: the Use of Negative Cues As Indicators of Health Benefits", in NA - Advances in Consumer Research Volume 35, eds. Angela Y. Lee and Dilip Soman, Duluth, MN : Association for Consumer Research, Pages: 39-43.


Thomas Kramer, Baruch College
Caglar Irmak, University of South Carolina
Lauren Bloch, Baruch College


NA - Advances in Consumer Research Volume 35 | 2008

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