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Vol. 15, No. 3, 2008
Issue release date: July 2008
Forsch Komplementmed 2008;15:146–151

Socio-Demographic Characteristics and Health Perceptions among Male and Female Visitors to CAM Practitioners in a Total Population Study

Steinsbekk A. · Adams J. · Sibbritt D. · Jacobsen G. · Johnsen R.
a Department of Public Health and General Practice, Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU), Trondheim, Norway bSchool of Population Health, University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia c Centre for Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics, School of Medicine and Public Health, Faculty of Health, University of Newcastle, Australia

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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-Trøndelag 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.

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