Publication Date


Document Type


First Advisor

Rink, David

Degree Name

M.S. (Master of Science)


Department of Marketing




This project was undertaken to determine the attitudes of a large population of physicians toward advertising their professional services and then to examine these attitudinal responses for clusters of opinion. The intent was to establish a demographic profile for detected clusters. The study was postulated to yield answers to eleven questions. In addition, there were ten specific hypotheses that were examined and tested. Answers to these questions and statistical analysis and exploration of the hypotheses were expected to yield several contributions including: 1. providing encouragement for other studies and additional investigation of this complex area, 2. yielding valuable information to medical associations and societies for planning purposes,and 3. helping Illinois physicians to understand the issues better. The population for this study consisted of the physicians in the state of Illinois. A total sample of 1200 physicians was randomly selected. Data collection was via an undisguised, structured mail questionnaire. The analysis procedure consisted of five separate phases. The first phase determined if statistically significant differences existed in the responses to Part A of the questionnaire which dealt with the physicians' attitudes toward a hypothetical professional advertisement. The total sample was broken into three separate samples with increasingly commercial advertisements. This phase tested for differences among the samples. The second phase determined the attitudes toward advertising reflected by responses to nineteen attitudinal statements on advertising issues from all respondents. In addition, current advertising practices among the sample physicians were determined. The third analysis phase ascertained whether there were clusters of attitudes among the respondents. The fourth analysis phase was a discriminant analysis on all 19 attitudinal statements concerning various critical issues of professional advertising. The intent was to determine which of the 19 attitudinal statements discriminated among the clusters. In the fifth analysis phase, demographic data was crosstabulated with the clusters to identify demographic profiles for each. Responses to the discriminating attitudinal statements were crosstabulated with the demographics to test the hypotheses set forth. All of the objectives of the study were achieved. Since this study adhered carefully to randomization in the data collection techniques and since the study design was structured such that most of the data was of an interval nature, the statistical inferences can be generalized to the total population of Illinois physicians. Some of the major findings and conclusions included: 1. Physicians generally held negative views toward advertising. The analysis confirmed that the negativism increased as a function of the increasingly commercial aspects of the advertisements for a physician's professional services. 2. The responses to the 19 attitudinal statements on Part B of the questionnaire yielded answers to a number of the questions and portrayed the views of Illinois physicians to a wide range of issues surrounding the topic of professional service advertising. 3. Three distinct clusters of opinion emerged. These clusters were numbered and named. Cluster 1 was named the Moderate or Traditional cluster; cluster 2 was the Liberal or Non-Traditional group; and cluster 3 was the Conservative or Ultra-Traditional cluster. 4. The discriminant analysis showed that all but two of the 19 attitudinal statements were necessary to discriminate among the clusters. 5. Crosstabulation analyses resulted in demographic profiles being drawn on the three clusters. In addition, the crosstabulations allowed the testing of the ten hypotheses. Some of the results of these tests showed: a. Attitudes toward advertising differed with the age of the medical professional. b. The population of the area in which the physician practiced affected his/her attitudes toward advertising. c. The medical school from which a physician was graduated affected his/her attitudes toward advertising. d. Physicians in private practice have different attitudes on advertising from those of non-private practice physicians. A careful review of the findings, implications and conclusions will confirm that knowledge has been added to the field of Marketing on the subject of attitudes toward advertising by professionals.


Includes bibliographical references.


4, xiv, 187 pages




Northern Illinois University

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