Background: Despite the growing use of complementary therapy by consumers in the United States, very little is known about the factors associated with the use of these therapies among older rural women.
Objective: The aim of this study was to answer the following research question using data from a portion of a larger study: What factors predict the use of complementary therapy among older rural women?
Methods: Data were collected by telephone interview from a random sample of older residents of 19 rural towns in Montana and North Dakota. Interviews were conducted using a guide that included questions about the use of allopathic and complementary healthcare and related issues such as health status, health problems, and reasons for seeking care. A direct logistic regression analysis was performed on the use of complementary or alternative medicine (CAM) as outcome and eight potential predictors. Data from 156 women were included in this analysis.
Results: A total of 25.6% (n = 40) of the women reported using CAM in the recent past. Rural women most likely to use CAM were those who were fairly well educated, not currently married, and in their early older years. They had one or more significant chronic illnesses and lower health-related quality of life due to emotional concerns.
Discussion: By improving the existing understanding of who is or is not likely to use CAM, the results of this study can be used in giving comprehensive care for rural women, including all healthcare practices, self-care and practitioner provided, and complementary and conventional.