Traits of cancer patients and CAM usage

Background – The use of Complementary Alternative Medicine (CAM) Methods is increasing and therefore gaining importance also in conventional western medicine. Identifying personal traits to make out by whom and why CAM is used can help physicians in successful physician–patient interaction, and thus improve patient’s compliance and trust towards their physician. Patients and methods – A questionnaire was passed on to cancer patients in an ambulant clinical and a rehabilitation setting. Multiple regression analyses were run to examine possible predictors for CAM use, such as gender, age, level of education, spirituality, attentiveness, self-efficacy and resilience. To differentiate within CAM users, two dependent variables were created: “holistic and mind–body methods”, such as Yoga, meditation or Homeopathy and “material based methods”, such as food supplements or vitamins. Results – Higher level of education, younger age and religion-independent attentiveness were significant predictors for the use of “material based methods”. Female gender, higher education and religious spirituality were detected as significant predictors for “holistic and mind–body methods”. Conclusion – This study is among the first to take a more detailed look at how numerous personal traits are associated with the use of CAM methods and differentiate between the applied methods. Our finding should be considered by conventional health care providers and could be integrated into a holistic assessment, to offer information about complementary medicine and meeting patients’ needs.

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