British Journal of Clinical Psychology

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Volume 35 Issue 1 (February 1996), Pages 1-162

The health beliefs and behaviours of orthodox and complementary medicine clients (pages 49-61)

This study examined different attitudes towards health and illness among an adult, working, German population. Two hundred and two subjects completed a questionnaire which assessed such beliefs as control over one's health; preventative and restorative measures in staying healthy; perceived efficacy of orthodox vs. complementary medical treatment; the underlying physiological or psychological bases of illnesses, and health consciousness. There was some evidence that females were more inclined to attend complementary forms of treatment, and that younger persons were more likely to consult an orthodox general practitioner, otherwise demographic variables were unrelated to preference for orthodox or complementary forms of treatment. Overall, the complementary medicine (CM) group compared to the general practitioner (GP) group were more critical and sceptical of the effectiveness of orthodox medicine; they felt their health could be improved; they were more loyal to their practitioner, and appeared to display more ecologically aware life‐styles. Thus clients who select complementary forms of treatment may do so less from disenchantment with, and bad experience of, orthodox medical techniques rather than from a deep‐seated belief in the effectiveness of complementary medicine.

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