Generational differences in complementary medicine use in young Australian women: Repeated cross-sectional dataset analysis from the Australian longitudinal study on women's health

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Journal Article
Complementary Therapies in Medicine, 2019, 43 pp. 66 - 72
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© 2019 Objective: Examine the generational differences in complementary medicine (CM) utilisation between young women from the X and Millennial generations. Design: Secondary analysis of two cross-sectional surveys from the Australian Longitudinal Study on Women's Health (ALSWH). Setting: Australia. Main outcome measures: Differences between young Generation X women (surveyed 1996; aged 18–23 years), and Millennial women (surveyed 2014; aged 19–24 years) regarding consultations with CM practitioners, sociodemographic characteristics, and health. Predictors for CM consultations were analysed via logistic regression analyses. Results: Of the 14,247 Generation X women, 19.4% reported consulting CM, compared to 26.8% of the 11,344 Millennial women. CM consultations was predicted in both cohorts by higher age, education beyond primary school, non-urban (vs. urban) residence, and frequent back pain or headaches. Obesity and regular smoking predicted non-use in both. Significant cohort differences were found in physical activity levels (moderate/high levels associated with increased CM consultations in Millennial, but not Generation X women), and health status (Generation X women reporting fair-poor health were more likely to consult CM practitioners, while Millennial women reporting good health were less likely to do so, compared to women with very good/excellent health). Conclusions: The increase in CM utilization among young Australian women from Generation X compared to the Millennial generation could indicate different health consumer patterns for future middle-aged and older adult Australian women. Further increases in CM usage may be observed as current young women age into characteristics traditionally linked with higher CM use such as worsening health status and increased disposable income.
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