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Gerontologist. 1999 Dec;39(6):711-9.

Predictors of use of traditional Korean healers among elderly Koreans in Los Angeles.

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UCLA Center for Health Policy Research 90095-1772, USA.


Many ethnic groups are known to use traditional healers often in conjunction with Western biomedical medicine, thus combining treatment regimens and medical advice as they see fit. Awareness of the use of traditional healers is an increasingly salient issue due to the growing diversity and aging of the U.S. population. To explore the determinants of use of traditional healers, we studied demographics, health status, and social support networks of a representative sample of elderly Koreans in Los Angeles County, California. The results revealed that chronic conditions such as arthritis, lung disease, and stomach pain, fewer depressive symptoms, availability of health insurance, and stronger social networks were significant predictors of use of traditional healers. Better understanding reasons for and patterns of health care use may enhance the delivery of care to the heterogeneous elderly population by preventing potential treatment complications and increasing health providers' cultural sensitivity.

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