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Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Volume 2015, Article ID 413173, 10 pages
Research Article

Differences between Male and Female Consumers of Complementary and Alternative Medicine in a National US Population: A Secondary Analysis of 2012 NIHS Data

1Division of Health Services Research, Department of Family and Community Medicine, Laura W. Bush Institute for Women’s Health, Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center, 3601 4th Street, Stop 8143, Lubbock, TX 79430, USA
2International Complementary Medicine Research Leadership and Capacity Building Program, Australian Research Centre in Complementary and Integrative Medicine (ARCCIM), University of Technology, Sydney, NSW 2006, Australia
3School of Nursing & Midwifery, University of South Australia, North Terrace, Adelaide, SA 5000, Australia
4Faculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences, Monash University, Frankston, VIC 3199, Australia
5Department of Neurobiology, Care Sciences and Society, Karolinska Institute, 141 83 Huddinge, Sweden
6Department of Medicine, Dunedin School of Medicine, University of Otago, Dunedin 9054, New Zealand
7Faculty of Health, University of Technology, Sydney, Building 10, Level 7, Room 232, 235-253 Jones Street, Ultimo, NSW 2007, Australia

Received 11 January 2015; Accepted 1 March 2015

Academic Editor: Bi-Fong Lin

Copyright © 2015 Yan Zhang et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


We examined the National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) 2012 to explore how US adult consumers of CAM differ by gender in terms of their sociodemographic characteristics, current health conditions, and perceived benefits of CAM. All individuals who completed the adults core interviews ( = 34,525) were included. CAM use, major sociodemographic variables, perceived benefits of using CAM, and top ten reported health conditions for which CAM was used were selected and analyzed by Stata. Findings revealed that 29.6% ( = 10,181) reported having used at least one form of CAM in the previous 12 months. Compared to male CAM users, female CAM users were more likely to have a bachelor degree, to be divorced/separated or widowed, and less likely to earn $75,000 or more. Back pain/problem was the most common problem reported by both male and female CAM users (32.2% and 22.6%, resp.). A higher proportion of female CAM users reported using CAM for perceived benefits such as general wellness or general disease prevention. This paper provides foundation information regarding gender differences in CAM use and is a platform for further in-depth examination into how and why males and females differ in their reasons for CAM use.