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J Altern Complement Med. 2010 May;16(5):569-77. doi: 10.1089/acm.2009.0329.

Development and evaluation of a complementary and alternative medicine use survey in African-Americans with acquired immune deficiency syndrome.

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  • 1Department of Behavioral Sciences and Health Education, Emory University, Atlanta, GA 30322, USA.



The purpose of the current study was to develop and evaluate the psychometric properties of a culturally- and stage-of-disease-appropriate measure of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) use among a population of African-American individuals with acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS) using a mixed-method design.


Data were collected in two phases. In phase 1, qualitative data were used to refine an existing CAM measure for the specific study population in the present study. In phase 2, this refined instrument was implemented in a larger sample. The resulting numeric data were analyzed to evaluate the psychometric properties of the revised CAM instrument.


Data were collected from patients who were receiving care from the infectious disease clinic of a large, public, urban hospital in the Southeastern United States.


Patients were eligible to participate if they (1) were receiving their care from the clinic, (2) had an AIDS diagnosis, (3) were identified as African-American, (4) were > or =21 years of age, (5) spoke English, and (6) were not cognitively impaired.


Focus groups in phase 1 were conducted with a semistructured focus group guide. Participants also completed a basic sociodemographic survey. Phase 2 participants used programmed laptops to answer questions about their CAM use and several sociodemographic questions.


Information from the focus groups prompted some substantive revisions in the already-existing CAM survey. The revised instrument had satisfactory face validity and adequate test-retest reliability (r = 0.79). Furthermore, the instrument factored in a manner that was interpretable and consistent with prior findings.


In order for human immunodeficiency virus health care providers to provide the best care to their patients, they need to be informed about the types and frequency of CAM use among their patients. This can be accomplished by methodologically developing CAM instruments, rigorously implementing and assessing these instruments, and then disseminating the findings to researchers and practitioners.

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