When one door closes, another door opens: physician availability and motivations to consult complementary and alternative medicine providers

Fuschia M Sirois, Rebecca J Purc-Stephenson
Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice 2008, 14 (4): 228-36
The aim of this study was to examine the attitudes, behaviours, and intentions to consult complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) providers, of health-care consumers living in a region with low physician availability. A survey was completed by a convenience sample of 235 CAM clients and nonconsumers recruited from an underserved urban centre in Canada. Nearly half had experienced difficulties getting an appointment with a physician when needed, and those who had experienced difficulties were more dissatisfied with conventional health care. Most participants (85.1%) indicated that they would consider consulting a CAM provider should they have difficulty getting an appointment with a physician in the future, including nearly 60% of the CAM nonconsumers. Participants who had more experience with CAM, greater perceived control over their symptoms, and were dissatisfied with conventional health care, were more likely to express intentions to use CAM should they experience access difficulties in the future. By situating the motivations for CAM within the context of physician availability our findings highlight the importance of geographical context, or place, for understanding attitudes towards CAM and its utilisation.

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