Treat or treatment: a qualitative study analyzing patients' use of complementary and alternative medicine


Bishop, Felicity L., Yardley, Lucy and Lewith, George T. (2008) Treat or treatment: a qualitative study analyzing patients' use of complementary and alternative medicine. American Journal of Public Health, 98, (9), 1700-1705. (doi:10.2105/AJPH.2007.110072). (PMID:18172145).

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Description/Abstract

Objectives: we analyzed how patients use complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) and examined how patients' perspectives relate to existing, expertled taxonomies.

Methods: we conducted semistructured interviews with 46 people who used CAM in southern England, then performed a qualitative thematic analysis of the interviews.

Results: CAM appeared to be used in 4 different ways: as treats, and as alternative, complementary, or conventional treatments. Treats were portrayed as personal luxuries, not directed at an identified health need. Systematic differences in the context, anticipated benefits, and implications for financial justification were revealed when nonmedical therapies were viewed and used as alternative, complementary, or conventional treatments. Specific CAM practices were viewed and used in different ways by different participants.

Conclusions: some participants used CAM practices as a personal luxury, not as a health care technology. This is incongruent with existing expert-led taxonomies. Physicians and researchers need to be aware that patients' views of what constitutes CAM can differ radically from their own. They should choose their terminology carefully to initiate meaningful dialogue with their patients and research participants.

Item Type: Article
ISSNs: 0090-0036 (print)
1541-0048 (electronic)
Keywords: access to care, social science, qualitative research
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
R Medicine > RM Therapeutics. Pharmacology
Divisions: University Structure - Pre August 2011 > School of Medicine > Community Clinical Sciences
University Structure - Pre August 2011 > School of Psychology
ePrint ID: 54770
Date Deposited: 04 Aug 2008
Last Modified: 27 Mar 2014 18:37
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/54770

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