A qualitative study of the decision-making process for the use of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM)
The purpose of tins qualitative investigation was to assess the decision-making process underlying complementary and alternative medication (CAM) use. Prospect theory was applied to understand the risk-taking nature in the decisional event to use CAM. In-depth, personal interviews were conducted with 20 individuals (all avid CAM users). Participants were asked questions regarding their reasons for CAM use and decisions to use CAM. Qualitative analyses using multiple readings of interview transcripts were used to extract emergent themes.
Findings showed eight themes linked to the reasons for CAM decision making. A relationship between risk-taking and strength of evidence (credibility) was found. The decision to use was commonly initiated by assessing the credibility of the medicine before use. Participants' responses indicated a sequential pattern for CAM risk-taking: the more credible the CAM option, and the higher the perception of rewards based the individual's reference point, the higher the likelihood of deciding to engage in risk-seeking.