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Altern Ther Health Med. 2003 Jul-Aug;9(4):50-6.

Ethnic minority use of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM): a national probability survey of CAM utilizers.

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Division of Geriatric Medicine, University of Pennsylvania Health System, USA.



US research results suggest that some sociodemographic characteristics predict use of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM). Specifically, use of CAM has been positively associated with persons from higher socioeconomic status groups and negatively associated with African-Americans.


To investigate the sociodemographic characteristics of CAM utilizers in a national probability sample, one containing an over-sampling of ethnic minorities.


We tested the hypothesis that CAM use is prevalent among many different ethnic groups in the US. by analyzing a subset of data from The 1995 National Comparative Survey of Minority Health Care of The Commonwealth Fund, a national probability sample of 3,789 persons with an over-sampling of ethnic minorities. The survey was conducted by telephone in 6 languages. We analyzed use of CAM (defined by 5 items: herbal medicine, acupuncture, chiropractic, traditional healer, home remedy) within the last year.


Use of 1 or more CAM modalities did not differ by ethnicity. Overall, 43.1% of the respondents reported using 1 or more CAM modality. Predictors of CAM use were female gender, being uninsured, and having a high school education or above.


Use of CAM is equally prevalent among white, African-American/black, Latino, Asian, and Native American populations in the US, but characteristics of utilizers vary considerably by specific CAM modality.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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