The Association Between Asthma Episode In The Past 12 Months Among Adults And The Use Of Complementary And Alternative Medicine In The Past 12 Months

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Public Health and Policy


Doctor of Public Health

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Among adults with asthma and other chronic diseases CAM use in the United States has increased. As these individuals age, they are likely to have higher rates of comorbidities. The 2002 National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) included questions that allow an examination of patterns of CAM use, including practitioner based therapies as well as self-care based therapies. This study uses NHIS data to analyze the association between asthma episode during the past 12 months and patterns of CAM use within the same period among adults, controlling for comorbid conditions. The Health Belief Model serves as the theoretical framework for the study. Taken from the adult sample questionnaire and the Alternative Supplement (ALT), responses of those who had ever had asthma (N=3327) were analyzed in this cross-sectional, correlational study. The c2 test of independence was used to examine the relationships among the following variables: experiencing an episode of asthma in the past year; coexisting morbidities; demographic variables, and the odds of using CAM overall, practitioner based CAM, therapies, or self-care based CAM therapies. To determine the odds of using CAM given the report of an asthma episode within the past year, when modified by the presence of selected comorbidities, odds ratios were determined using logistic regression. Overall CAM use differed significantly by asthma status, with 49% of those with asthma episodes in the past year using CAM compared with 42% of those who did not have an episode in the past year (p<0.001). Self-care based therapies were more likely to be used than practitioner based therapies. In addition, the use of self-care therapies was significantly more frequent in adult asthma patients who had a comorbid condition (p<0.01) than those with no comorbidities. This study supports previous work indicating that disease severity--in this instance, asthma within the past year--is significantly associated with CAM use. It did not support prior studies showing greater CAM use in the presence of a greater number of comorbidities. Limitations inherent in cross-sectional studies prevent making conclusions regarding disease severity as a determinant of the selection of self-care based therapies as opposed to practitioner based therapies