The use of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) in the U.S. has increased substantially in recent years and there are substantial CAM utilization differences across ethnic/racial minority groups. The increasing use of CAM has been previously linked to factors such as the need for individual empowerment over healthcare use and the philosophical congruence between CAM and personal beliefs, spirituality and values of patients. However, CAM use could also be related to minority subpopulation-specific experiences with the healthcare system and their prior experiences with CAM in other countries and/or with different cultures in the U.S. The objective of the proposed research is to characterize the use of different CAM therapies among racial and ethnic groups and to study how these differences in utilization rates arise. The central hypothesis is that differences in CAM use and the effectiveness of CAM across different racial and ethnic groups are driven by socioeconomic status, personal experiences with the conventional healthcare system, access/cost of conventional healthcare, race/ethnic-specific cultural beliefs, CAM legislation/regulation and personal beliefs as to what conventional medicine can effectively accomplish to improve health.
The specific aims of the proposed research are: to analyze CAM utilization and perceived effectiveness across racial/ethnic minority subpopulations; to determine how the cost of conventional medicine is related to CAM use differences across racial/ethnic groups; and to characterize race/ethnic specific patterns of CAM use by insurance status and state-based regulatory measures. Survey data from the 2002 National Health Interview Survey will be used to investigate the differences in CAM use across different racial/ethnic minority subpopulations. Logistic and count data models will be estimated to assess the factors that are related to CAM utilization and the perceived effectiveness of the different modalities of CAM. ? ?
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