The University of Southampton
University of Southampton Institutional Repository

How patients choose acupuncturists: a mixed-methods project

Bishop, Felicity L., Massey, Yolanda, Yardley, L and Lewith, George T. (2011) How patients choose acupuncturists: a mixed-methods project Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, 17, (1), pp. 19-25. (doi:10.1089/acm.2010.0061). (PMID:21235412).

Record type: Article


Objectives: Patients can have difficulties choosing acupuncturists in the United Kingdom because acupuncturists are not all subject to statutory regulation. Research has identified factors that influence patients' choice of general practitioner. However, how patients choose acupuncturists has not been studied. The aim was to investigate how patients choose acupuncturists and to identify which factors might influence this choice.

Design: A mixed-methods design used an exploratory qualitative study followed by a quantitative study. The qualitative study explored patients' experiences of acupuncture. The quantitative vignette study investigated the impact of patient gender and practitioner factors (gender, training location, and qualifications) on choice of acupuncturist.

Methods: In the qualitative study, 35 acupuncture patients (recruited through maximum variation sampling from seven clinics and the community) participated in semistructured interviews about their acupuncture experiences. In the quantitative study, 73 participants imagined wanting to consult an acupuncturist for back pain. They rated 8 fictional acupuncturists; ratings were analyzed using analysis of covariance.

Results: Patients wanted qualified, personable acupuncturists and valued recommendations from trusted others. Without such recommendations, potential patients preferred female acupuncturists (F(1,69)?=?4.504, p?<?0.05) and those with medical qualifications (F(1,69)?=?44.832, p?<?0.01).

Conclusions: The decision to consult a particular acupuncturist is not straightforward. Acupuncturists' trustworthiness and technical competence are important to (potential) patients; practitioner gender also influenced preferences. Patients need to be informed about proposals concerning statutory regulation in CAM and its implications; conventional practitioners might be able to better support their patients wanting to consult acupuncturists.

PDF POSTPRINT How Patients Choose Acupuncturists.pdf - Accepted Manuscript
Download (101kB)

More information

Accepted/In Press date: January 2011
Organisations: Primary Care & Population Sciences


Local EPrints ID: 173657
ISSN: 1075-5535
PURE UUID: 8b23558a-29a4-4411-859a-61f9c51c4b4d
ORCID for Felicity L. Bishop: ORCID iD

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 07 Feb 2011 09:54
Last modified: 18 Jul 2017 12:12

Export record


Download statistics

Downloads from ePrints over the past year. Other digital versions may also be available to download e.g. from the publisher's website.

View more statistics

Atom RSS 1.0 RSS 2.0

Contact ePrints Soton:

ePrints Soton supports OAI 2.0 with a base URL of

This repository has been built using EPrints software, developed at the University of Southampton, but available to everyone to use.

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you continue without changing your settings, we will assume that you are happy to receive cookies on the University of Southampton website.