264051 Utilization of CAM-based stress management practices among college students

Tuesday, October 30, 2012 : 11:30 AM - 11:50 AM

Alyssa M. Lederer, MPH, CHES , Department of Applied Health Science, Indiana University School of Public Health-Bloomington, Bloomington, IN
Ellen E. Coe, MS , Department of Applied Health Science, School of Public Health, Indiana University, Bloomington, Bloomington, IN
Susan E. Middlestadt, PhD , Department of Applied Health Science, Indiana University, Bloomington, IN
Jeanne D. Johnston, PhD , Department of Kinesiology, Indiana University, Bloomington, IN
Background: Stress is associated with numerous health problems, and among college students has been identified as the number one issue negatively impacting academic performance. Utilization patterns for specific techniques to minimize stress among this population have received little attention. This study sought to identify CAM-based stress management strategies practiced by college students and the sub-populations most likely to engage in these practices. Methods: 1,122 undergraduate students completed a comprehensive health survey at a large public Midwestern university. Participants could endorse practicing fifteen stress management strategies, five of which were CAM-based: deep-breathing, yoga, meditation, guided imagery, and tai chi. Statistical analyses were conducted to identify relationships between those who practiced one or more CAM-based strategy versus those who practiced none. In addition, a descriptive analysis was conducted to describe the demographic characteristics (gender, race, year, and level of spirituality) relative to specific stress management practices. Results: Findings revealed that almost all participants, 99.4%, reported using at least one or more stress management method, including 28.8% of participants who reported one or more CAM-based strategy. However, CAM-based strategies were the least endorsed items. Of those who did practice CAM-based strategies, there were similar rates among various demographic groups with the exception of higher utilization among females as compared to males. Participants who endorsed CAM-based strategies reported varying levels of wellness in mental health and perceived stress. Conclusions: College students reported practicing various stress management techniques; however, evidence-based CAM strategies were utilized far less in comparison to other techniques. Implications for practice and recommendations for future research will be discussed.

Learning Areas:
Assessment of individual and community needs for health education
Other professions or practice related to public health
Public health or related education
Public health or related research

Learning Objectives:
1) Describe general utilization rates of CAM-based stress management techniques among college students. 2) Discuss similarities and differences in usage of CAM-based stress management practices among several collegiate sub-populations. 3) Explain the association between self-reported health-related outcomes and CAM-based stress management strategies among college students.

Keywords: Stress, College Students

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am a PhD student and Associate Instructor in the Department of Applied Health Science at Indiana University. I also have my MPH in Behavioral Sciences and Health Education from Emory University's Rollins School of Public Health and I am a Certified Health Education Specialist (CHES).
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.