European Journal of Pediatrics

, Volume 170, Issue 5, pp 619–624

Attitudes toward complementary and alternative medicine: a national survey among paediatricians in the Netherlands

  • Arine M. Vlieger
  • Marja van Vliet
  • Miek C. Jong
Original Paper

Abstract

The purpose of the present survey was to assess attitudes, beliefs, experience, referral patterns and desire for education regarding complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) therapies of paediatricians in the Netherlands. In 2009, the link to an anonymous, self-reporting, 30-item web-based questionnaire was mailed to all members of the Dutch Association of Paediatrics. The questionnaire included questions about demographics and practice characteristics, use of CAM by the paediatrician and/or his family, attitudes towards and knowledge of CAM, and inquiries about CAM use in their practice. A total of 343 (24%) paediatricians responded to the survey: 39% had used some kind of CAM therapy themselves during the past 2 years, of which supplements (64%) and herbal and/or homeopathic remedies (30%) were most frequently mentioned. The majority of the paediatricians (62%) seldom asked parents of patients about CAM use. Referrals to CAM doctors were made by approximately 30% of the paediatricians. In general, more than 50% of the surveyed paediatricians had little knowledge of CAM therapies. Predictors for a positive attitude towards CAM were own CAM use (p < 0.0001), age >45 years (p = 0.02) and perceived knowledge level of CAM (p < 0.005). In conclusion, a significant group of Dutch paediatricians has a positive attitude towards CAM and refers patients to CAM therapies. The majority of paediatricians, however, do not ask patients about CAM use and seem to lack sufficient knowledge on CAM.

Keywords

Complementary medicine Alternative medicine Attitude paediatricians 

References

  1. 1.
    American Academy of Pediatrics (2001) Counseling families who choose complementary and alternative medicine for their child with chronic illness or disability. Committee on children with disabilities. Pediatrics 107:598–601CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Armishaw J, Grant CC (1999) Use of complementary treatment by those hospitalised with acute illness. Arch Dis Child 81:133–137PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Barnes PM, Bloom B, Nahin RL (2008) Complementary and alternative medicine use among adults and children: United States, 2007. Natl Health Stat Report 10:1–23Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Bishop FL, Prescott P, Chan YK et al (2010) Prevalence of complementary medicine use in pediatric cancer: a systematic review. Pediatrics 125:768–776PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Chan E, Rappaport LA, Kemper KJ (2003) Complementary and alternative therapies in childhood attention and hyperactivity problems. J Dev Behav Pediatr 24:4–8PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Corbin WL, Shapiro H (2002) Physicians want education about complementary and alternative medicine to enhance communication with their patients. Arch Intern Med 162:1176–1181CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Crawford NW, Cincotta DR, Lim A, Powell CV (2006) A cross-sectional survey of complementary and alternative medicine use by children and adolescents attending the University Hospital of Wales. BMC Complement Altern Med 6:16PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Ernst E (1999) Prevalence of complementary/alternative medicine for children: a systematic review. Eur J Pediatr 158:7–11PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Holla M, IJland MM, van der Vliet AM et al (2009) Diseased infant after ‘craniosacral’ manipulation of the neck and spine. Ned Tijdschr Geneeskd 153:828–831PubMedGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Kemper KJ, O’Connor KG (2004) Pediatricians’ recommendations for complementary and alternative medical (CAM) therapies. Ambul Pediatr 4:482–487PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Kemper KJ, Vohra S, American WR, Walls R, American Academy of Pediatrics (2008) The use of complementary and alternative medicine in pediatrics. Pediatrics 122:1374–1386PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Kolkman E (2009) CAM-education in the medical curriculum: vision of medical students. Eur J Int Med 1:196Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    Madsen H, Andersen S, Nielsen RG et al (2003) Use of complementary/alternative medicine among paediatric patients. Eur J Pediatr 162:334–341PubMedGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    Menniti-Ippolito F, Forcella E, Bologna E et al (2002) Use of unconventional medicine in children in Italy. Eur J Pediatr 161:690PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    Nahin RL, Barnes PM, Stussman BJ, Bloom B (2009) Costs of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) and frequency of visits to CAM practitioners: United States, 2007. Natl Health Stat Report 30:1–14Google Scholar
  16. 16.
    Pernot IC, Oudesluys-Murphy AM, Versluis-den Bieman HJ, Hop WC (2005) Aggression towards paediatricians and trainee paediatricians in the Netherlands. Ned Tijdschr Geneeskd 149:542–544PubMedGoogle Scholar
  17. 17.
  18. 18.
    Sawni A, Thomas R (2007) Pediatricians’ attitudes, experience and referral patterns regarding Complementary/Alternative Medicine: a national survey. BMC Complement Altern Med 7:18PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. 19.
    Sibinga EM, Ottolini MC, Duggan AK, Wilson MH (2004) Parent-pediatrician communication about complementary and alternative medicine use for children. Clin Pediatr 43:367–373CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. 20.
    Sidora-Arcoleo K, Yoos HL, McMullen A, Kitzman H (2007) Complementary and alternative medicine use in children with asthma: prevalence and sociodemographic profile of users. J Asthma 44:169–175PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. 21.
    Simpson N, Roman K (2001) Complementary medicine use in children: extent and reasons. A population-based study. Br J Gen Pract 51:914–916PubMedGoogle Scholar
  22. 22.
    Spigelblatt L, Laine-Ammara G, Pless IB, Guyver A (1994) The use of alternative medicine by children. Pediatrics 94:811–814PubMedGoogle Scholar
  23. 23.
    van Dijk PA, Spee EMW, Rijswijk F, Gorgels W (2008) The position of complementary and alternative medicine in undergraduate medical education. Dutch Journal Medical Education 27:191–202Google Scholar
  24. 24.
    Vlieger AM, van de Putte EM, Hoeksma H (2006) The use of complementary and alternative medicine in children at a general paediatric clinic and parental reasons for use. Ned Tijdschr Geneeskd 150:625–630PubMedGoogle Scholar
  25. 25.
    Vlieger AM, Blink M, Tromp E, Benninga MA (2008) Use of complementary and alternative medicine by pediatric patients with functional and organic gastrointestinal diseases: results from a multicenter survey. Pediatrics 122:e446–e451PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Arine M. Vlieger
    • 1
  • Marja van Vliet
    • 2
  • Miek C. Jong
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of PaediatricsSt. Antonius HospitalNieuwegeinThe Netherlands
  2. 2.Department Healthcare and NutritionLouis Bolk InstituteDriebergenThe Netherlands

Personalised recommendations