Online Program

Prevalence and predictors of CAM use among ivy league college students

Monday, November 4, 2013 : 2:30 p.m. - 2:50 p.m.

Amy L. Versnik Nowak, PhD, Public Health Education & Promotion, University of Minnesota Duluth, Duluth, MN
Joe DeGise, MS, Columbia Health, Columbia University, New York, NY
Amanda Daugherty, MPH, CHES, Columbia Health, Columbia University, New York, NY
Richard O'Keefe, MD, Columbia Health, Columbia University, New York, NY
Samuel Seward Jr., MD, FAAP, Columbia Health, Columbia University, New York, NY
Fanny Tang, MPH, Columbia Health, Columbia University, New York, NY
Previous studies have demonstrated that education is a significant predictor of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) use, suggesting college students are likely to be CAM users. The purpose of this study was to: (1) measure the frequency and type of CAM use among a sample of undergraduate, graduate, and pre-professional health care students; and (2) test the significance of demographics and social-cognitive constructs as predictors of CAM use among this population. A random sample of 2553 undergraduate, graduate, and pre-professional health care students enrolled at Columbia University completed a web-based survey. Over 80% reported using at least one CAM therapy in the past 12 months. The most commonly reported CAM therapies include non-vitamin, non-mineral products, yoga, deep breathing exercises, massage therapy, and meditation. Graduate, pre-professional health care, domestic, and female students were significantly more likely to report CAM use than their counterparts. Guided by Bandura's Social Cognitive Theory, preliminary analyses of social-cognitive constructs suggest college students who have positive attitudes toward CAM, higher outcome expectancies regarding health care, and more CAM users in their social network are more likely to be using one or more CAM therapies. This information is important for universities who are striving to incorporate CAM services, programs, and education into student life. Recommendations for future research and programming will be discussed.

Learning Areas:

Assessment of individual and community needs for health education
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs

Learning Objectives:
Describe the prevalence of CAM use in a college population. Explain how demographics and social-cognitive constructs relate to CAM use. Discuss implications of these findings for professional practice.

Keyword(s): Alternative Medicine/Therapies, College Students

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have been the principal, co-principal, or consultant/adviser for multiple college CAM use research studies in the U.S. My scientific and public health interests include studying patterns and predictors of college CAM use and, as a result, developing CAM use services, education, and interventions in university settings.
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.