The profiles of adults who consult alternative health practitioners and/or general practitioners

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Scandinavian Journal of Primary Health Care, 2007, 25 (2), pp. 86 - 92
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Objective. To compare the profiles of people visiting only a general practitioner (GP), those visiting only a practitioner of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM), and those visiting both (GP&CAM). Design. A comparative total population health survey in central Norway (HUNT 2). Subjects. A total of 54 448 persons 20 years of age and over who answered questions about their use of health services during the previous 12 months. Variables. Sociodemographic characteristics, self-perceived health, subjective health complaints, and a variety of common diseases. Results. Some 34 854 (64.0%) of those who answered the health service use question had visited only a GP, 837 (1.5%) only a CAM practitioner, and 4563 (8.4%) both during the last 12 months. The likelihood of being a CAM-only user as compared to a GP-only user was significantly increased (p < 0.005) if the participant was male; aged between 30 and 69; and without cardiovascular disease. The likelihood of being a GP&CAM user compared with a GP-only user was significantly increased (p < 0.005) for those who were female; aged between 30-59; had a higher education level; were non-smokers; had lower perceived global health; had a limiting chronic complaint; had experienced a health complaint during the last 12 months; had musculoskeletal disease; had a psychiatric complaint; and had hay fever. Conclusion. There were few CAM-only users and they differ from GP-only users by being male, aged 30-69, and without cardiovascular disease. Users of both GP&CAM were less healthy with more complaints and poorer self-reported health than GP- and CAM-only users. © 2007 Taylor & Francis.
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