Date of Conferral
Doctor of Public Health (DrPH)
Currently, little is known about patients' perceptions and beliefs in discussing complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) with their conventional medical (CM) doctor. The purpose of this descriptive research was to show whether CAM-using patients have an interest in discussing CAM treatments with their CM doctor for comprehensive care as described by the health belief model (HBM) constructs of perceived susceptibility, perceived seriousness, and perceived benefits of taking action. A sample of 165 participants age 18 or older from 2 chiropractic clinics in the midwestern United States completed a Likert-scaled survey. The data were analyzed using descriptive statistics and multiple regression to determine if there is a relationship between the variables of the need for a CAM discussion with a CM as the outcome using HBM constructs as the independent variables. The primary findings from this study were that (a) the participants were interested in discussing CAM with their physicians, with the majority of the participants stating that they discussed CAM either often (33.5%) or always (29.3%); and (b) perceived susceptibility, perceived seriousness, and perceived benefits of taking action were not predictive of a CAM discussion. Future studies should be conducted to (a) examine samples with varying demographic characteristics to assess the generalizability of the current findings; and (b) to include additional predictors of CAM discussions from the HBM such as barriers, cues to action, and self-efficacy. The results of this study add to the limited literature on CAM usage and may prompt future research. Implications for positive social change include understanding patient interest in discussing CAM which can help improve the overall quality of patient service.