POSTMODERN VALUES, ATTITUDES AND THE USE OF COMPLEMENTARY THERAPIES
O'Callaghan, F., Griffith University, Australia
This study examines the relationship between postmodern values (e.g., belief in natural remedies and a holistic view of health), demographic variables and people's attitudes towards and use of acupuncture, aromatherapy and naturopathy. It extends previous research into postmodern values by predicting actual behavior in relation to the use of complementary medicine (CM). Participants (N=171) completed a questionnaire measuring postmodern values about health, attitudes towards and use of CM, age, gender, education, and current and recent health. Thirty-six percent of respondents were classified as users of CM and 64% were classified as non-users. All of the users of CM reported using more than one therapy, the most common being naturopathy, followed by aromatherapy, then acupuncture. A factor analysis of the set of postmodern values resulted in the following factors which explained over 55% of the variance: rejection of authority, natural remedies, individual responsibility for health, holism and belief in innate health. Hierarchical multiple regression revealed that postmodern values significantly predicted attitudes to CM and actual use of CM. Age also significantly predicted attitudes to CM. The results highlight the importance of patients' belief in natural remedies and in their active involvement in the healing process, suggesting that the practice and training of orthodox practitioners may be improved by developing a greater awareness of the reasons why patients choose complementary therapies, so that they can be supported in making informed, safe and appropriate choices about their health care.