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Why people seek complementary and alternative medicine before conventional medical treatment: a population based study

P Thomson, J Jones, M Browne, S J Leslie
Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice 2014, 20 (4): 339-46
25156988

BACKGROUND: Few studies explain peoples' intentions to use complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) before conventional medicine.

AIMS: To examine the psychosocial factors associated with intention to try CAM before conventional medicine; to explore the predictors of initially seeking CAM in the adult population in Australia.

DESIGN: A cross sectional survey.

METHODS: 1256 adults were interviewed as part of 2012 Queensland Social Survey. Relationships were explored using logistic regression.

RESULTS: 79% of respondents had used CAM in the last 12 months; 17.6% of people would try CAM before conventional medicine. Age, education, perceived control and spirituality predicted intention to try CAM before conventional medicine. People often sought CAM initially to improve their health and well-being.

CONCLUSION: Personal characteristics and psychosocial factors predicted intention to try CAM before conventional medicine. These factors need to be considered by doctors and other conventional health care providers as part of person centred approaches to healthcare.

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