CAM Therapies: A Survey of Beliefs, Credibility, and Frequency of Use Among OSU Students
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Publisher:The Ohio State University
Series/Report no.:The Ohio State University. Department of Psychology Undergraduate Research Theses; 2019
Complementary and alternative medicines (CAM) have been used for thousands of years to treat various illnesses and diseases (e.g., mediation, acupuncture, hypnosis). Although many of these approaches are still popular today, the scientific evidence supporting their use has been questioned (Ernst, Cohen, & Stone, 2004). We set out to survey attitudes and beliefs about a selective group of these therapies among undergraduate students enrolled in psychology classes and graduate students in occupational therapy, school psychology, clinical psychology, and counseling education at The Ohio State University. A total of 146 students (nmale=48; nfemale=98; nundergraduate=97; ngraduate=49) participated in our survey and completed the CAM Health Belief Questionnaire (CHBQ; Lie & Boker, 2004). There were nine participants that provided incomplete data on subsequent measures. The majority of our sample participants (n=137/146) also rated the credibility of 11 different CAM therapies and reported their frequency of using each approach. We predicted that females would be more likely to use CAM therapies relative to males. We also predicted that students who engaged in CAM approaches would score higher on the CHBQ. Further, we predicted a correlation between frequency of use and credibility ratings across the CAM approaches. Mean scores on the CHBQ total scale score did not differ by gender or college status (i.e., graduate vs. undergraduate). We found differences on several individual CHBQ items between our undergraduate and graduate students. We found a correlation between CHBQ total scores and total frequency scores, supporting our prediction that those who hold stronger beliefs about CAM are more likely to use various CAM approaches. As predicted, female students reported using CAM therapies more frequently than male students. Specifically, they were more likely to use massage, herbs/vitamins, aromatherapy/essential oils, and yoga. Within our sample, approximately two-thirds of students reported using spirituality/religion and herbs/vitamins approaches. Among our 11 CAM therapies, yoga and meditation both ranked highly in terms of credibility to affect both physiological and psychological processes within the human body. We discuss our findings in light of other research.
Academic Major: Psychology