Mental Health and the Marketplace


Special Issue of the Journal of Consumer Marketing; Deadline now 1 Feb 2021


Author: Elizabeth Crosby

Special Issue of the Journal of Consumer Marketing; Deadline Extended to February 1, 2021

Mental Health and the Marketplace

Guest Editors

Ann Mirabito, Baylor University
Jane Machin, Radford University
Beth Crosby, University of Wisconsin-Lacrosse
Natalie Ross Adkins, Drake University
Justine Rapp Farrell, University of San Diego

Call for Papers

A diagnosable mental health condition affects approximately one in four people in the United States (Bagalman and Cornell 2016).  Worldwide, depression alone affects 300+ million people, a number expected to surge as more people live beyond the condition’s median onset age (World Health Organization 2017). The burden of mental health conditions is immense. Individuals struggle not only with the functional and emotional challenges associated with their condition, but also with the attendant stigma (Rüsch, Angermeyer, and Corrigan 2005). The economic costs of treatment and lost productivity exceed $2.5 trillion globally (Trautmann, Rehm, and Wittchen 2016).

Despite the pervasiveness and high cost, research at the intersection of mental health, mental well-being and the marketplace is sparse. But it is growing. Researchers are exploring:

  • Ways the marketplace negatively impacts mental health (Koku and Acquaye 2017) but also ways consumers use the marketplace to manage with mental health (Machin et al. 2019)
  • The consumer journey for securing mental health services (Ahuja and Williams 2010; Larson and Bock 2016; Sharma, Conduit, and Rao Hill 2017; Wyllie and Carlson 2018)
  • Ways firms bring to market pharmaceuticals (McKeever 2014) and online mental health treatments (Mannan, Ahamed, and Zaman 2019)
  • Ways to use marketing cues to dampen addictive consumption (Berry, Burton, and Howlett 2017; Berthon, Pitt, and Campbell 2019; Cui, Mrad, and Hogg 2018), assess risk perceptions (Farrell and Hamby 2019), and understand the limitations of policy tools such as taxation (Gordon and Baohong 2015).
  • How marketing fuels the stigma associated with mental health (Mirabito et al. 2016) and ways marketing frameworks can neutralize the stigma (Meyer et al. 2020; Yeh, Jewell, and Thomas 2017)

This Special Issue on Mental Health and the Marketplace of the Journal of Consumer Marketing aims to stimulate high quality research into whether and how marketing frameworks and marketplace actors can help relieve the burden of mental health conditions and elevate overall mental well-being.  We seek to enhance understanding among academics and marketplace actors of how individuals suffering from mental health conditions navigate the marketplace and to stimulate interventions to improve the well-being. We hope to aid in removing the stigma surrounding mental health.

The Special Issue spans marketing connections with clinically recognized conditions including depression, bipolar, psychoses, anxiety, attention-deficit/hyperactivity (ADHD), specific learning conditions, gambling, and substance use conditions among many others. It also encompasses the achievement of optimal mental wellness.

Research questions for the Special Issue include but are not limited to:

  • How have market forces contributed to the proliferation of mental health conditions, both diagnosed and undiagnosed? How can that be reversed?
  • How can social norms promote mental health without inducing stigma?
  • How does language play a role in the stigmatization of mental health conditions? What language should be used to reduce stigma (e.g., neurodiversity)?
  • How do consumers with mental health conditions navigate the general marketplace? How does mental health play a role in consumer decision making and post-decision processes? What coping strategies are employed?
  • How do the attitudes and behaviors of frontline service workers affect the experience of consumers with mental health conditions? How can firms improve satisfaction with the consumption experience?
  • How should the marketing literature define and conceptualize mental health conditions? Should we consider broader definitions than the American Psychiatric Association’s given the prevalence of consumption addictions such as compulsive shopping, internet usage, sports gaming, and sex?
  • What is the consumer journey for mental health services? How can people be encouraged to seek mental health care? How can marketing help people find the most appropriate providers and treatments?
  • How do media (TV, movies, advertising, social) representations of mental health conditions help and/or harm consumers, shape marketplace interactions, and influence company decisions about the marketplace?
  • How/why are attitudes toward mental health changing across generations? Across cultures?
  • How can the marketplace attenuate the stigma of mental health while building brand value?
  • How can technology improve mental health and/or reduce stigma?
  • What is the role of empathy, compassion, and other emotions in extinguishing stigma?
  • How can the marketplace enhance mental resilience? How do service and product design affect mental well-being?
  • How has the pandemic affected consumer mental well-being in the marketplace? How can marketplace actors mitigate pandemic related assaults to consumers’ mental well-being?

We particularly encourage interdisciplinary work and collaborations with marketplace actors and with organizations working in the mental health field.  We invite research dealing with the entire population as well as with demographic segments (teens, poor, elderly, military veterans, etc.) or health segments (diagnosed/undiagnosed, mild/serious, specific conditions).

Both rigorous conceptual and empirical work are welcomed. New theory and novel methods with clear implications for practice are sought. While most extant empirical research involves focus groups, in-depth interviews, and other qualitative methods, we particularly welcome quantitative work using experimental methods, survey data, and secondary datasets.

Guidelines for Submissions

Submission window opens December 1, 2020

Deadline for initial submission February 1, 2021

Publication date January 2022

Please review the Journal’s author guidelines and submission information During submissions please select this issue from the dropdown menu provided.

We invite author queries about the appropriateness of their work for this Special Issue. Email any member of the guest editor team.

Call for Papers website:


Ahuja, Alka S. and Richard Williams (2010), “Telling Stories: Learning from Patients’ and Families’ Experiences of Specialist Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services,” International Journal of Consumer Studies, 34 (5), 603-09.

Bagalman, Erin and Ada S. Cornell (2016), “Prevalence of Mental Illness in the United States: Data Sources and Estimates,” (accessed November 10, 2017), U.S. Congressional Research Service,  7-5700, R43047,

Berry, Christopher, Scot Burton, and Elizabeth Howlett (2017), “The Impact of E-Cigarette Addiction Warnings and Health-Related Claims on Consumers’ Risk Beliefs and Use Intentions,” Journal of Public Policy & Marketing, 36 (1), 54-69.

Berthon, Pierre, Leyland Pitt, and Colin Campbell (2019), “Addictive De-Vices: A Public Policy Analysis of Sources and Solutions to Digital Addiction,” Journal of Public Policy & Marketing, 38 (4), 451-68.

Cui, Charles Chi, Mona Mrad, and Margaret K. Hogg (2018), “Brand Addiction: Exploring the Concept and Its Definition through an Experiential Lens,” Journal of Business Research, 87, 118-27.

Farrell, Justine Rapp and Anne M. Hamby (2019), “Vaping Viewpoints: A Multi‐Segment Understanding of E‐Cigarette Risk Perceptions,” Journal of Consumer Affairs, 53 (2), 545-71.

Gordon, Brett R. and Sun Baohong (2015), “A Dynamic Model of Rational Addiction: Evaluating Cigarette Taxes,” Marketing Science, 34 (3), 452-70.

Koku, Paul Sergius and Hannah Emma Acquaye (2017), “Marketing Dispossession,” International Journal of Bank Marketing, 35 (1), 112-27.

Larson, Lindsay R. L. and Dora Elizabeth Bock (2016), “Consumer Search and Satisfaction with Mental Health Services,” Journal of Services Marketing, 30 (7), 736-48.

Machin, Jane E., Natalie Ross Adkins, Elizabeth Crosby, Justine Rapp Ferrell, and Ann M. Mirabito (2019), “The Marketplace, Mental Wellbeing, and Me: Exploring Self-Efficacy, Self-Esteem, and Self-Compassion in Consumer Coping,” Journal of Business Research, 100 (July), 410-20.

Mannan, Mahafuz, Reaz Ahamed, and Sifat Binte Zaman (2019), “Consumers’ Willingness to Purchase Online Mental Health Services,” Journal of Services Marketing, 33 (5), 557-71.

McKeever, Robert (2014), “Thinking Outside the Medicine Cabinet: A Comparative Content Analysis of Direct-to-Consumer Advertisements for Prescription Drug Treatments,” Health Marketing Quarterly, 31 (4), 353-69.

Meyer, Jan-Hinrich, Ko De Ruyter, Dhruv Grewal, Kathleen Cleeren, Debbie Isobel Keeling, and Scott Motyka (2020), “Categorical Versus Dimensional Thinking: Improving Anti-Stigma Campaigns by Matching Health Message Frames and Implicit Worldviews,” Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science, 48 (2), 222-45.

Mirabito, Ann M., Cele C. Otnes, Elizabeth Crosby, David B. Wooten, Jane E. Machin, Chris Pullig, Natalie Ross Adkins, Susan Dunnett, Kathy Hamilton, Kevin D. Thomas, Marie A. Yeh, Cassandra David, Johanna F. Gollnhofer, Aditi Grover, Jess Matias, Natalie A. Mitchell, Edna G. Ndichu, Nada Sayarh, and Sunaina Velagaleti (2016), “The Stigma Turbine: A Theoretical Framework for Conceptualizing and Contextualizing Marketplace Stigma,” Journal of Public Policy & Marketing, 35 (2), 170-84.

Rüsch, Nicolas, Matthias C Angermeyer, and Patrick W Corrigan (2005), “Mental Illness Stigma: Concepts, Consequences, and Initiatives to Reduce Stigma,” European Psychiatry, 20 (8), 529-39.

Sharma, Shikha, Jodie Conduit, and Sally Rao Hill (2017), “Hedonic and Eudaimonic Well-Being Outcomes from Co-Creation Roles: A Study of Vulnerable Customers,” Journal of Services Marketing, 31 (4), 397-411.

Trautmann, Sebastian, Jürgen Rehm, and Hans‐Ulrich Wittchen (2016), “The Economic Costs of Mental Disorders,” EMBO Reports, 17 (9), 1245–49.

World Health Organization (2017), “Depression and Other Common Mental Disorders: Global Health Estimates,” World Health Organization,,

Wyllie, Jessica and Jamie Carlson (2018), “To Follow the Yellow Brick Road: Exploring the Journey to Mental Well-Being Consumption,” Journal of Marketing Management, 34 (17/18), 1557-86.

Yeh, Marie A., Robert D. Jewell, and Veronica L. Thomas (2017), “The Stigma of Mental Illness: Using Segmentation for Social Change,” Journal of Public Policy & Marketing, 36 (1), 97-116.