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Why consumers maintain complementary and alternative medicine use: a qualitative study

Why consumers maintain complementary and alternative medicine use: a qualitative study
Why consumers maintain complementary and alternative medicine use: a qualitative study
Objectives: Although research evidence exists to suggest why consumers use complementary and alternative medicine (CAM), there remains a need to distinguish between factors and processes involved in the initial uptake of therapies and those involved in their subsequent maintenance. We therefore conducted a qualitative study to explore and describe consumers' reasons for maintaining or stopping CAM use.

Methods: This was a qualitative study. We interviewed 46 CAM consumers and 9 CAM practitioners, in two high-street CAM clinics in the UK. The interviews were analyzed thematically using techniques from grounded theory.

Results: Consumers described and evaluated their CAM experiences along four dimensions: interpersonal (e.g., interactions with practitioners), physical (e.g., sensations such as touch or pain during treatment), affective (e.g., empowerment), and cognitive (e.g., beliefs about treatment). They evaluated their experiences in relation to their individual needs and expectations; financial considerations could limit maintenance of CAM use. Practitioners emphasized the effectiveness of treatment and themselves as contributing to consumers maintaining treatment, and recognized the role of financial considerations in decisions to stop CAM use.

Conclusions: This study suggests that experiences of conventional medicine are of limited importance after the decision to initiate CAM. Experiences of CAM were foremost in our consumers' decisions to maintain or stop specific CAM therapies. Maintenance of CAM could occur even if consumers' experiences were not entirely positive. Our findings provide novel, systematic insights that will be of particular interest to practitioners who want to support consumers as they decide whether to maintain CAM use.
1075-5535
175-182
Bishop, Felicity L.
1f5429c5-325f-4ac4-aae3-6ba85d079928
Yardley, Lucy
64be42c4-511d-484d-abaa-f8813452a22e
Lewith, George T.
0fc483fa-f17b-47c5-94d9-5c15e65a7625
Bishop, Felicity L.
1f5429c5-325f-4ac4-aae3-6ba85d079928
Yardley, Lucy
64be42c4-511d-484d-abaa-f8813452a22e
Lewith, George T.
0fc483fa-f17b-47c5-94d9-5c15e65a7625

Bishop, Felicity L., Yardley, Lucy and Lewith, George T. (2010) Why consumers maintain complementary and alternative medicine use: a qualitative study. Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, 16 (2), 175-182. (doi:10.1089/acm.2009.0292).

Record type: Article

Abstract

Objectives: Although research evidence exists to suggest why consumers use complementary and alternative medicine (CAM), there remains a need to distinguish between factors and processes involved in the initial uptake of therapies and those involved in their subsequent maintenance. We therefore conducted a qualitative study to explore and describe consumers' reasons for maintaining or stopping CAM use.

Methods: This was a qualitative study. We interviewed 46 CAM consumers and 9 CAM practitioners, in two high-street CAM clinics in the UK. The interviews were analyzed thematically using techniques from grounded theory.

Results: Consumers described and evaluated their CAM experiences along four dimensions: interpersonal (e.g., interactions with practitioners), physical (e.g., sensations such as touch or pain during treatment), affective (e.g., empowerment), and cognitive (e.g., beliefs about treatment). They evaluated their experiences in relation to their individual needs and expectations; financial considerations could limit maintenance of CAM use. Practitioners emphasized the effectiveness of treatment and themselves as contributing to consumers maintaining treatment, and recognized the role of financial considerations in decisions to stop CAM use.

Conclusions: This study suggests that experiences of conventional medicine are of limited importance after the decision to initiate CAM. Experiences of CAM were foremost in our consumers' decisions to maintain or stop specific CAM therapies. Maintenance of CAM could occur even if consumers' experiences were not entirely positive. Our findings provide novel, systematic insights that will be of particular interest to practitioners who want to support consumers as they decide whether to maintain CAM use.

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Published date: 2010

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 73320
URI: https://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/73320
ISSN: 1075-5535
PURE UUID: 5b7ad4f4-cd77-4acc-b844-15704bba4b5f
ORCID for Felicity L. Bishop: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0002-8737-6662

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Date deposited: 08 Mar 2010
Last modified: 06 Jun 2018 12:47

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