Ethnic differences in use of complementary and alternative medicine at midlife: longitudinal results from SWAN participants

Am J Public Health. 2002 Nov;92(11):1832-40. doi: 10.2105/ajph.92.11.1832.


Objectives: We estimated the prevalence and longitudinal correlates of use of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) at midlife among participants of the Study of Women's Health Across the Nation (SWAN).

Methods: Multiple logistic regression was used to evaluate the relationship between baseline survey-reported symptoms and use of herbal, spiritual, and physical manipulation therapies 1 year later.

Results: Almost half of all women had used CAM in the past year. Baseline psychological symptoms were associated with subsequent use of spiritual therapies among White and Chinese women. Baseline CAM use was a major predictor of subsequent use in White, Japanese, and Chinese women.

Conclusions: Baseline CAM use, rather than presence of symptoms, was the major predictor of subsequent CAM use. Premenopausal health behaviors are important determinants of choice of therapy during midlife.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Asian Americans / statistics & numerical data*
  • California / epidemiology
  • China / ethnology
  • Cohort Studies
  • Complementary Therapies / statistics & numerical data*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • European Continental Ancestry Group / statistics & numerical data*
  • Female
  • Health Care Surveys
  • Humans
  • Japan / ethnology
  • Logistic Models
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Menopause / ethnology*
  • Middle Aged
  • Prevalence
  • Prospective Studies
  • Women's Health*