Complementary and alternative medicine use as health self-management: rural older adults with diabetes

J Gerontol B Psychol Sci Soc Sci. 2006 Mar;61(2):S62-70. doi: 10.1093/geronb/61.2.s62.


Objective: . This study describes complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) use among rural older adults with diabetes, delineates the relationship of health self-management predictors to CAM therapy use, and furthers conceptual development of CAM use within a health self-management framework. Methods. Survey interview data were collected from a random sample of 701 community dwelling African American, Native American, and White elders residing in two rural North Carolina counties. We summarize CAM use for general use and for diabetes care and use multiple logistic modeling to estimate the effects of health self-management predictors on use of CAM therapies.

Result: . The majority of respondents used some form of CAM for general purpose, whereas far fewer used CAM for diabetes care. The most widely used CAM categories were food home remedies, other home remedies, and vitamins. The following health self-management predictors were related to the use of different categories of CAM therapies: personal characteristics (ethnicity), health status (number of health conditions), personal resources (education), and financial resources (economic status). Discussion. CAM is a widely used component of health self-management among rural among older adults with diabetes. Research on CAM use will benefit from theory that considers the specific behavior and cognitive characteristics of CAM therapies.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • African Americans / statistics & numerical data
  • Aged
  • Complementary Therapies / statistics & numerical data*
  • Demography
  • Diabetes Mellitus / therapy*
  • Health Behavior*
  • Health Status*
  • Humans
  • Indians, North American / statistics & numerical data
  • North Carolina
  • Religion
  • Rural Population*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires