Complementary/alternative medicine use for arthritis by older women of urban-rural settings

Corjena K Cheung, Carol Geisler, Jeris Sunneberg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Purpose: This study described the use of complementary/alternative medicine (CAM) for arthritis management among community-dwelling older women in urban, suburban, and rural areas. Data sources: A descriptive qualitative approach using focus group method was employed. A purposive sample of 50 women ages 66-101 who managed arthritis with CAM participated in eight semistructured focus groups: rural (n = 22), suburban (n = 17), and urban areas (n = 11). Data were transcribed verbatim. Inductive analytic process and computer software were used for data analysis. Conclusions: A wide variety of self-help CAM were reported. Supplements were the most commonly used CAM across all locations; rural participants reported the greatest variety of CAM use. Physical symptoms, dissatisfaction with conventional medicine, perceived safety and convenience of CAM, and a desire for personal control over one's health motivated CAM use. Most participants did not fully disclose their CAM use to their primary healthcare provider (HCP). Implications for practice: Results suggest a strong need for primary HCP to purposely dialogue with their clients on CAM use when designing, organizing, and delivering arthritis care. Information on safe CAM use and greater options for effective arthritis management with CAM are needed. The value of group-based model for treating arthritis deserves further exploration.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)273-280
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of the American Association of Nurse Practitioners
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2014


  • Arthritis
  • Complementary and alternative medicine (CAM)
  • Elderly
  • Focus groups


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