Socio-demographic characteristics and health perceptions among male and female visitors to CAM practitioners in a total population study

Forsch Komplementmed. 2008 Jun;15(3):146-51. doi: 10.1159/000134904. Epub 2008 Jun 9.


Background: The aim was to explore the prevalence of visitors to CAM practitioners in a total population with reference to sex, self-rated health status and socio-demographic characteristics.

Methods: The paper reports findings from the Nord-Tr√łndelag Health Study (HUNT 2), a total population-based health survey of 42,277 respondents conducted in central Norway who answered questions on visits to a CAM practitioner. Variables included were age, marital status, education, receiving social welfare benefits, lifestyle (daily smoker), Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS-T), self-rated health status, and having a limiting chronic complaint.

Results: Some 12.8% (95% CI 12.5-13.1) of the population had visited a CAM practitioner in the last 12 months, with females visiting almost twice as often as males. Multivariate analysis showed that consulting a CAM practitioner was significantly associated in both sexes with being middle-aged (male age 40-49 OR 1.6 (1.2-2.0), female age 30-39 OR 1.4 (1.1-1.6)); poor self-rated health status (male OR 5.1 (3.1-8.5), female 3.9 (2.2-6.8 )); and reporting a chronic complaint (male OR 1.5 (1.3-1.8), female OR 1.4 (1.2-1.6)). Daily smoking of cigarettes was associated with a decreased likelihood for visiting a CAM practitioner (male OR 0.7 (0.6-0.9), female OR 0.8 (0.7-0.9)). In females, both a higher total HADS-T score (score >20 OR 1.5 (1.2-2.0)) and middle-level education (OR 1.2 (1.1-1.4)) were associated with visiting a CAM practitioner.

Conclusions: Visitors to CAM practitioners had lower self-reported health than non-users, but socio-demographic variables did not discriminate between users and non-users.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Complementary Therapies / statistics & numerical data*
  • Demography*
  • Female
  • Health Status*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Norway
  • Patient Acceptance of Health Care / statistics & numerical data
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Young Adult