Sociodemographic determinants of the utilization of specific types of complementary and alternative medicine: An analysis based on a nationally representative survey sample

Lisa Conboy, Sonal Patel, Ted J. Kaptchuk, Bobbie Gottlieb, David Eisenberg, Delores Acevedo-Garcia

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

63 Scopus citations

Abstract

Objectives: To evaluate the relationships between selected sociodemographic factors and the use of particular types of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) in the general U.S. population. CAMs make up a heterogeneous group of practices. Although it is well established that sociodemographic factors impact the use of conventional medicine, it is unclear which, if any, influence the use of particular types of CAM. Design: Data from a 1997-1998 nationally representative survey (n = 2055) was examined using descriptive and univariate analyses. Results: The impact of particular sociodemographic factors was found to vary by type of CAM considered. Whites used more CAM than non-Whites except in the case of prayer. Users of CAM tended to be better educated than nonusers with the exception of prayer, self-prayer, and use of a lay midwife. Women used more CAM than men, especially weight-change diet. Conclusions: As with conventional medicine use, the patterns of CAM use vary by individual type of therapy considered. Analytically, grouping many heterogeneous practices into the CAM category hides important differences in use patterns.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)977-994
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine
Volume11
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 2005
Externally publishedYes

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