Original Research: Preferences for Alternative and Traditional Health Care: Relationship to Health Behaviors, Health Information Sources, and Trust of Providers
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Background: Alternative options for medical care are rapidly growing choices in our current health care system, yet we lack a full understanding of the motivators and predictors of this trend. Lesbians may represent a cultural group that uses alternate health care options more frequently and therefore can provide valuable insights into this growing trend. Objective: The purpose of this paper is to describe and identify predictors of interest in alternative methods of health care among a group of lesbians. Subject: Sexual-minority women (n = 150) were recruited through community channels and were screened via telephone. Measures: Participants completed a survey of health behaviors and key variables related to use of alternative and traditional health care providers. Results: Over half the sample (68%) reported that they wanted access to an alternative provider. Participants reported equal and high levels of trust in both traditional and alternative providers. The most desired alternative providers are massage therapists (87%) and acupuncturists (56%). Positive predictors of interest in alternative providers included anxiety and trust in alternative providers, whereas trust in traditional providers negatively predicted interest. Conclusion: These data generated hypotheses for predicting uptake of alternative care in more-mainstream populations.
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