Complementary health approaches for health and wellness in midlife and older US adults

Pamela Jo Johnson, Judy Jou, Taeho Greg Rhee, Todd H. Rockwood, Dawn M. Upchurch

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


Objectives To characterize the use of complementary health approaches (CHA) and examine the perceived benefits of using CHA by reason for use among midlife and older adults. Study design Analysis of 2012 National Health Interview Survey data, a nationally representative US sample using cross-tabulations with design-based F-tests and multiple logistic regression. The analytic sample included adults aged over 50 years (N = 14,849). Main outcome measures The proposed benefits of using CHA included: (1) better control over health, (2) reduced stress/relaxation, (3) better sleep, (4) feeling better emotionally, (5) coping with health problems, (6) improved health/feeling better, and (7) improved relationships. Results Overall, 31% of this sample of midlife and older US adults had used CHA in the past year. Among users, 15% had used CHA for treatment only, 40% for wellness only, and 45% for combined wellness and treatment. Herbs (60%), chiropractic (28%), massage (22%), and yoga (19%) were the most common CHA. Wellness-only and combined users had significantly higher odds of reporting that CHA conferred benefit compared with treatment-only users. Conclusions CHA are used by nearly a third of midlife and older adults and are perceived to provide substantial benefit. Integrating CHA as part of a healthy lifestyle has the potential to contribute to healthy aging among midlife and older adults.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)36-42
Number of pages7
StatePublished - Jul 2016

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Time for this study was funded in part by the A. Marilyn Sime Fellowship (Johnson) and the Integrative Health & Wellbeing Research Program of the Center for Spirituality & Healing, University of Minnesota (Johnson, Jou, and Rhee).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016 Elsevier Ireland Ltd. All rights reserved.


  • Aging
  • Complementary and alternative medicine (CAM)
  • Health promotion
  • Midlife
  • Wellbeing
  • Wellness


Dive into the research topics of 'Complementary health approaches for health and wellness in midlife and older US adults'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this