The profile of women who consult alternative health practitioners in Australia

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Medical Journal of Australia, 2003, 179 (6), pp. 297 - 300
Issue Date:
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Objectives: To compare the characteristics of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) users and non-users among Australian women. Design: Cross-sectional postal questionnaire conducted during 1996, forming the baseline survey of the Australian Longitudinal Study on Women's Health. Participants: Women aged 18-23 years (n= 14779), 45-50 years (n= 14099) and 70-75 years (n= 12939), randomly selected from the Health Insurance Commission database, with over-sampling of women from rural and remote areas of Australia. Main outcome measures: Consultation with an alternative health practitioner in the 12 months before the survey. Results: Women in the mid-age cohort were more likely to have consulted an alternative health practitioner in the previous year (28%) than women in the younger cohort (19%) or older cohort (15%). In all age groups, CAM users were more likely than CAM non-users to reside in non-urban areas, to report poorer health, have more symptoms and illness, and be higher users of conventional health services. Conclusions: Women in non-urban Australia are more likely to use CAM but do so in parallel with conventional health services.
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