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Age-related Differences in the Conventional Health Care-Complementary and Alternative Medicine Link

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Objective : To determine if differences in conventional care among users and nonusers distinct CAM therapies varies by age and ethnicity.

Methods : The 2002 National Health Interview Survey data with a supplemental section on CAM use were analyzed.

Results : The odds of reporting each level of conventional care were greater for CAM users than nonusers for each type of CAM. There is consistent evidence that associations between CAM and conventional care use differ by age but not ethnicity.

Conclusions : Individuals who use CAM are greater users of conventional care, although these associations hold primarily for young and middle-aged adults. Results suggest that, for most CAM users, these therapies are not being used in place of conventional health care.

Keywords: age differences; complementary medicine; conventional care; health self management; physician visits

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1 Associate Professor, Department of Family and Community Medicine, Wake Forest University School of Medicine, Winston-Salem, NC.

Publication date: 2008-11-01

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  • The American Journal of Health Behavior seeks to improve the quality of life through multidisciplinary health efforts in fostering a better understanding of the multidimensional nature of both individuals and social systems as they relate to health behaviors.

    The Journal aims to provide a comprehensive understanding of the impact of personal attributes, personality characteristics, behavior patterns, social structure, and processes on health maintenance, health restoration, and health improvement; to disseminate knowledge of holistic, multidisciplinary approaches to designing and implementing effective health programs; and to showcase health behavior analysis skills that have been proven to affect health improvement and recovery.

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