Patients' perceptions of primary care physicians' participatory decision-making style and communication about complementary and alternative medicine for arthritis

J Altern Complement Med. 2005 Jun;11(3):449-53. doi: 10.1089/acm.2005.11.449.


Objective: The purpose of this study was to examine: (1) which patient demographics were related to whether patients rated their family physicians as using a participatory decision-making style, and (2) whether arthritis patients who reported using complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) were more likely to report discussing CAM use with their providers if they saw family physicians rated with participatory decision-making styles.

Methods: A survey that asked about health status, demographics, physician use of a participatory decision-making style, and medical skepticism was sent to 2178 patients with arthritis who attended 16 different family practice sites that were part of a research network in rural and urban North Carolina. Generalized estimating equations were used to analyze the data.

Results: Younger and more educated patients were more likely to rate their family physicians as using participatory styles. In all, 71% of patients who reported having used one or more CAM strategy reported having discussed it with their physicians. Patients who rated their health as worse, reported using more categories of CAM, and rated their physicians as being using participatory styles were more likely to tell their physicians about their CAM use.

Conclusion: Our findings suggest that if providers use more participatory styles with patients and involve them when making treatment decisions; patients will tell providers more about what they are doing for their health.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Arthritis / epidemiology
  • Arthritis / therapy*
  • Complementary Therapies / statistics & numerical data*
  • Decision Making*
  • Family Practice / standards*
  • Family Practice / statistics & numerical data
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • North Carolina / epidemiology
  • Patient Participation / statistics & numerical data*
  • Patient Satisfaction / statistics & numerical data
  • Practice Patterns, Physicians'
  • Professional-Patient Relations*
  • Rural Population / statistics & numerical data
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Urban Population / statistics & numerical data