Why do people favour alternative medicine?

Mohammad Siahpush

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

75 Scopus citations


Objectives: The primary aim of the study was to investigate the determinants of attitudes towards alternative medicine. The study also examined the dimensionality of dissatisfaction with conventional medicine. Method: The data was based on a telephone survey of a random sample of 787 Victorians. The survey was conducted in 1997-8. Results: Principle component analysis showed that, dissatisfaction with conventional medicine has two distinct dimensions, one relating to the medical outcome and the other relating to the medical encounter. Multiple regression results showed that neither of these dimensions explain people's attitudes towards alternative medicine. Instead, a substantial proportion of variance in this variable was explained by a set of values that include faith in natural remedies, subscribing to a holistic view of health, consumerism and believing in individual responsibility. Conclusion: The main reason people favour alternative medicine is their health-related values and beliefs. Implications: Health policies of the future should take into account values and cultural change.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)266-271
Number of pages6
JournalAustralian and New Zealand journal of public health
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1999
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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