Complementary and Alternative Medicine for Mental Disorders Among African Americans, Black Caribbeans, and Whites

School of Social Work, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI 48824, USA.
Psychiatric services (Washington, D.C.) (Impact Factor: 2.41). 10/2009; 60(10):1342-9. DOI: 10.1176/
Source: PubMed


This study examined racial and ethnic differences in the use of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) for the treatment of mental and substance use disorders.
Data were from the National Survey of American Life (NSAL) and the National Comorbidity Survey-Replication (NCS-R). The analytic sample included 631 African Americans and 245 black Caribbeans from the NSAL and 1,393 non-Hispanic whites from the NCS-R who met criteria for a mood, anxiety, or substance use disorder in the past 12 months. Logistic regression was used to examine racial and ethnic differences in the use of any CAM and in the use of CAM only versus the use of CAM plus services in another treatment sector.
Thirty-four percent of respondents used some form of CAM. Whites were more likely than blacks to use any CAM, although there was no racial or ethnic difference in CAM use only versus CAM use plus traditional services. A higher proportion of blacks than whites used prayer and other spiritual practices. Among those with a mood disorder, black Caribbeans were less likely than African Americans to use any CAM.
Findings of this study were similar to those of previous studies that examined physical illness in relation to CAM use in terms of its overall prevalence, the predominant use of CAM in conjunction with traditional service providers, and racial and ethnic differences in the use of CAM. The use of prayer was a major factor in differences between blacks and whites in CAM use; however, there were also differences among black Americans that warrant further research.

Download full-text


Available from: Amanda Toler Woodward, Aug 18, 2014
    • "In lieu of or in concert with clergy, highly religious African- Americans may prefer to address their mental health problems using strategies that do not involve accessing any type of professional mental health provider. These individuals might rely on both cognitive and behavioral forms of religious coping, such prayer or meditation (Woodward et al., 2009). Future research should investigate whether highly religious African-Americans attribute mental health problems to religious struggles, medical disorders, or other causes. "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: African-Americans are approximately half as likely as their white counterparts to use professional mental health services. High levels of religiosity among African-Americans may lend to a greater reliance on religious counseling and coping when facing a mental health problem. This study investigates the relationship between three dimensions of religiosity and professional mental health service utilization among a large (n = 3570), nationally representative sample of African-American adults. African-American adults who reported high levels of organizational and subjective religiosity were less likely than those with lower levels of religiosity to use professional mental health services. This inverse relationship was generally consistent across individuals with and without a diagnosable Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 4th Edition, anxiety, mood, or substance use disorder. No association was found between nonorganizational religiosity and professional mental health service use. Seeking professional mental health care may clash with sociocultural religious norms and values among African-Americans. Strategic efforts should be made to engage African-American clergy and religious communities in the conceptualization and delivery of mental health services.
    The Journal of nervous and mental disease 07/2015; 203(8). DOI:10.1097/NMD.0000000000000334 · 1.69 Impact Factor
  • Source
    • "Close to twenty percent of CAM users in our sample mentioned that they would use CAM modalities for mental health problems. As other U.S. studies have previously found, many ethnic minorities were using multiple CAM therapies to treat mental health problems such as anxiety disorder and depression [27-30]. In conventional psychiatric practice, anti-psychotic polypharmacy has raised safety concerns regarding drug interactions [31]. "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Race has been reported to affect the use of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM), but there is very little research on the use of CAM by ethnicity in Korea. This study explores the prevalence of CAM use among ethnic minorities in South Korea. The design is a descriptive and cross-sectional study. A convenience sample of ethnic minorities was recruited from two public healthcare centres in Gyeonggi province. The survey instrument included 37 questions regarding CAM use, factors influencing use of CAM, self-health management, and the socio-demographic profile of study participants. Sixty-two percent of study participants reported the use of CAM. Multivitamins (53.3%), acupuncture (48.9%), and traditional Korean herbal medicine (38.9%) were popular CAM modalities in our sample. Other notable CAM modalities included herbal plants, therapeutic massage, and moxibustion therapy. The majority of CAM users (52.2%) received CAM services to treat diseases or as a secondary treatment while receiving conventional care. Having positive perceptions toward the effectiveness of CAM was a major determining factor in CAM use. Physicians need to be aware of the fact that many ethnic minorities use CAM therapies. Many CAM users reported that they want doctors to know about their CAM use and have a basic understanding of traditional medicine in their home country. Overcoming language and cultural barriers will help reduce unwanted medical complications. High prevalence of CAM use among ethnic minorities in our study warrants further studies using larger sample population.
    BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine 03/2014; 14(1):103. DOI:10.1186/1472-6882-14-103 · 2.02 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: This study investigates sociodemographic and health-related correlates of use of a spiritual healer for medical help. A large national, multiracial-multiethnic data source permits a more comprehensive investigation than was possible in previous studies. It also enables a closer focus on socioeconomic disadvantage and health need as determinants of utilization. Respondents are from the National Survey of American Life: Coping with Stress in the 21st Century (NSAL), a nationally representative multi-stage area-probability survey of U.S. adult African Americans, Caribbean Blacks, and non-Hispanic Whites conducted from 2001 to 2003. The sample contains 6082 adults aged 18 and over. NSAL respondents were surveyed about lifetime use of alternative providers for medical care or advice. Response categories included two types of spiritual healers: faith healers and psychics. These outcomes were logistically regressed, separately, onto 10 sociodemographic or health-related indicators: race/ethnicity, age, gender, marital status, education, household income, region, medical care use, insurance coverage, and self-rated health. Lifetime utilization of a faith healer is more prevalent among respondents in good health and less prevalent among Caribbean Blacks and never married persons. Users of a psychic healer are more likely to be educated, residents of the Northeast or West, and previously married, and less likely to report excellent health. Use a spiritual healer is not due, on average, to poor education, marginal racial/ethnic or socioeconomic status, dire health straits, or lack of other healthcare options. To some extent, the opposite appears to be true. Use of a spiritual healer is not associated with fewer social and personal resources or limitations in health or healthcare.
    Complementary therapies in medicine 04/2011; 19(2):63-70. DOI:10.1016/j.ctim.2011.02.001 · 1.55 Impact Factor
Show more