The Role Of Trust: Influencing The Perceptions And Expectations Of Information About Complementary And Alternative Medicines (CAM) By Regular CAM Users In Australia

Assoc Prof Geraldine Bloustien,
Dr Deepa Rao
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This study investigated the perceptions and expectations of information about complementary and alternative medicines (CAM) by regular CAM users in Australia. It highlighted the information needs of users of CAM in Australia and the barriers that exist in relation to provision of appropriate information. The use of complementary and alternative medicines (CAM) has become widespread in the Australian community. In 2002 it was estimated that 52% of the Australian population had used at least one non-physician-prescribed complementary medicine in the previous year [1]. Self-prescription of oral complementary medicines is common with up to 28% of those surveyed self-prescribing CAM [1]. Research has also shown a significant increase in visits to alternative practitioners, in particular naturopaths and herbal therapists [1]. In Australia CAM are widely available from many sources including health food stores, supermarkets, direct marketing, natural therapy clinics and pharmacies. Community pharmacies represent one of the major retail outlets for these medications with an estimated 40% of the market share while naturopaths or herbalists represent about 10% of the market share [2]. Health food stores, supermarkets and direct to consumer sales make up the remaining 50% of the market share of CAM in Australia [2].
The role of trust in specific information resources including practitioners through the opinions and advice of family members and friends proved to be a key element in influencing and often determining which products consumers used and where they obtained their CAM.

Keywords: Trust, Familial and Social Networks, Community, The Use of Complementary and Alternative Medicines (CAM), Pharmacies, Naturopaths
Stream: Anthropology, Archaeology, Cultural Studies and Humanities
Presentation Type: Virtual Presentation in English
Paper: A paper has not yet been submitted.

Assoc Prof Geraldine Bloustien

Associate Professor, Key Reseacher, Hawke Research Institute for Sustainable Societies, University of South Australia
Adelaide, South Australia, Australia

Dr Gerry Bloustien is an Associate Professor in the School of Communication, Information and New Media and key Reseacher in the Hawke Reseach Insitute for Sustainable Societies, University of South Australia. Her teaching, research interests and publications are in the areas of informal learning and information acquisition, complementary health practices and innovative ethnographic methodologies, youth cultures, screen literacy (film, television and new media). She has published internationally on all aspects of her research, including a 2005 co-published article on Naturopath's practice behaviour from this research (BMC COmplementary and Alternative Medicine); a monograph, Girl Making: a cross cultural ethnography of growing up female (Berghahn 2003), her studies of the television comedy drama, Buffy and its fan base (European Journal of Cultural Studies) and she was the invited editor of ‘Envisioning Ethnography’ a special edition the international journal, Social Analysis. Her latest edited book, Sonic Synergies: music, identity and communities will be published by Ashgate Books (UK) later this year. She is a founding member an Australian wide network of Australian researchers in Cultural studies funded by the Australian Research Council.

Dr Deepa Rao

Lecturer, Key Researcher, Quality Use of Medicines and Pharmacy Research Centre, Sansom Institute, University of South Australia
Adelaide, South Australia, Australia

Dr Rao’s research combines Pharmacy with Anthroplogy and Social Science. She teaches and researches in the Quality Use of Medicines and Pharmacy Research Centre, Sansom Institute, the School of Pharmacy and Medical Sciences, University of South Australia. She’s been working in the area of pharmaceutical care and consumer experiences, needs and expectations from pharmacists and in the area of complementary and alternative medicine. Her research interests include exploring health beliefs and how these relate to health seeking behaviour in patients, understanding their decision-making processes, relating this to general preventive health, medication use and the cultural and social factors affecting health decisions. Recent research projects are investigating specific health issues among diverse migrant and cultural groups including patterns of medication use both in conventional as well as alternative or traditional systems of healing and patients’ access to these systems.

Ref: I06P0430