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Self-care dimensions of complementary and alternative medicine use among older adults

TitleSelf-care dimensions of complementary and alternative medicine use among older adults
Year of Publication2007
AuthorsVotova, K., and Wister A. V.
JournalGerontology
Volume53
Pages21 - 27
Keywordsalternative medicine, behaviours influencing health, complementary medicine, diseases, disorders and chronic conditions, health beliefs, health services use, older adults, unmet health needs
Abstract

Background: There is a lack of understanding about the patterns and rates of CAM use among older adults owing to a lack of research on specific types of CAM. Objectives: This study examines several dimensions of self-care deemed to be associated with CAM. Unmet health care needs, self-care attitudes, and spirituality are interpreted as health belief structures underlying CAM. Methods: Logistic regression analysis was used to examine use of three groups of practitioner-based CAM: (a) chiropractic; (b) massage, and (c) acupuncture, homeopathy and/or naturopathy use. We analyze a subsample of 4,401 older adults drawn from the 1996/1997 and 1998/1999 waves of the Canadian National Population Health Survey. Results: The logistic regression analyses indicate that self-care attitude and spirituality represent important predictors of practitioner-based CAM use. The associations for unmet health care needs were not supported. The strongest factors associated with CAM use were the illness context variables, which suggest that measures of need are key factors in leading individuals to seek other forms of health care. Discussion: Practitioner-based CAM use among older adults is influenced by self-care attitude and spirituality, in addition to health status, but to varying degrees depending on the type of CAM. Support of these self-care facets suggests that there is a desire on the part of consumers to exercise choice and to participate in health care decisions when considering CAM