Attitudes Underlying Reliance on Complementary and Alternative Medicine

S. Zorgo*, G.J.Y. Peters, S. Mkhitaryan

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Objective: We aimed to map attitudes underlying complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) use, especially those involved in "dysfunctional CAM reliance," that is, forgoing biomedical treatment in a life-threatening situation in favor of alternative treatment. Analyses of modifiable determinants of CAM use were conducted at a sufficiently specific level to inform intervention development. Methods: We collected usable data on CAM-related attitudinal beliefs from 151 participants in Budapest with varying degrees of CAM use, which we analyzed using confidence interval-based estimation of relevance plots. Results: Although there were beliefs that the entire sample shared, there was a marked difference between the biomedical and CAM groups. These differences were beliefs concerning trust in various medical systems, the level of importance assigned to emotions in falling ill, and vitalism or Eastern concepts. Regarding CAM users in general, the most successful intervention targets are beliefs in vitalism on the one hand, and distrust in biomedicine on the other. In addressing dysfunctional CAM use specifically, the most significant beliefs pertain to "natural" cures and reliance on biomedical testing. Conclusions: Albeit much research has been carried out on the motivations behind CAM use, rarely do studies treat CAM users separately in order to scrutinize patterns of nonconventional medicine use and underlying cognition. This is the first study to begin pinpointing specific attitudes involved in dysfunctional CAM use to inform future intervention development. Such interventions would be essential for the prevention of incidents and mortality.
Original languageEnglish
Article number1534735420910472
Number of pages14
JournalIntegrative Cancer Therapies
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2020


  • attitudes
  • behavior
  • breast-cancer
  • cam use
  • cancer-patients
  • care
  • ciber plot
  • complementary and alternative medicine
  • dysfunctional cam use
  • general-population
  • health
  • illness experience
  • intervention development
  • perceptions
  • prevalence
  • CARE
  • dysfunctional CAM use
  • CIBER plot

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