A longitudinal analysis of older Australian women's consultations with complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) practitioners, 1996-2005

Age Ageing. 2009 Jan;38(1):93-9. doi: 10.1093/ageing/afn241. Epub 2008 Nov 18.


Objective: to determine the factors associated with complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) use among older Australian women over time.

Methods: a longitudinal analysis of postal questionnaires completed in 1996, 1999, 2002 and 2005 as part of the Australian Longitudinal Study on Women's Health.

Results: the percentage of women who consulted a CAM practitioner in the years 1996, 1999, 2002 and 2005 were 14.6%, 12.1%, 10.9% and 9.9%, respectively. Use of CAM increased as the number of reported symptoms increased and physical health deteriorated, for non-urban residents compared to urban residents.

Conclusion: use of CAM amongst older women appears to be strongly influenced by poor physical health. There is also a suggestion that lack of access to conventional health care providers increases CAM use. There is also an overall decline in the use of CAM among older women as they age.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Australia
  • Complementary Therapies / statistics & numerical data*
  • Data Collection
  • Educational Status
  • Female
  • Health Status
  • Humans
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Marital Status
  • Middle Aged
  • Outcome Assessment, Health Care
  • Physician-Patient Relations*
  • Referral and Consultation / statistics & numerical data*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Young Adult