Correlates of use of alternative medicine by the elderly in an urban population

E. P. Cherniack, R. S. Senzel, C. X. Pan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

92 Scopus citations


Objective: To investigate the prevalence and predictors of use of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) by the elderly. Design: Cross-sectional survey examining patterns of use of complementary therapies in two urban multiethnic populations of older adults. Setting and Subjects: A convenience sample of 421 older participants were interviewed at two sites: a university geriatrics primary care practice and a veterans medical clinic, both in New York City. Subjects were excluded if they did not speak English or if they were moderately cognitively impaired. Measurement: Use of CAM within the previous year. Results: Fifty-eight percent (58%) of all subjects surveyed used some form of CAM, and close to 75% at the university practice alone. Use correlated most strongly with female gender (p < 0.0001), greater education (p = 0.0095), thyroid disease (p = 0.0190) and arthritis (p = 0.0251). There was no correlation with income, race, age, or self-perceived health status. Conclusions: CAM use is highly prevalent in older persons in this study, especially among females and those who are more highly educated.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)277-280
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jan 1 2001
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Complementary and alternative medicine


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