Toward a sociological understanding of complementary and alternative medicine use

Terry D. Stratton, Jennifer L. McGivern-Snofsky

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations


Background and objectives: The wide array of treatments and modalities comprising complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) represent a growing option for many individuals. Seeking to better understand this, much research has centered on identifying sociodemographic (e.g., age, gender, race) or social-psychologic (e.g., absorption, depression, coping) correlates of using CAM therapies. In contrast, sociological perspectives recognize the influence of larger-scale, external forces on individuals' motivations to seek alternative or complementary care. Aim: This paper, then, illustrates current and potential sociological approaches to understanding CAM use, and the importance of social forces that influence persons' decisions to utilize (or not) "unconventional" medical care.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)777-783
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jul 1 2008

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Complementary and alternative medicine


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