Attitude of medical students and doctors towards complementary, alternative and integrative medicine: A single-center, questionnaire-based study

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Journal of Pharmacopuncture


Objectives: Our study aimed to determine the attitudes of second- and final-year medical students and doctors (teaching faculty) of modern medicine towards complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) using the Complementary, Alternative, and Integrative Medicine Attitude Questionnaire (CAIMAQ). Methods: We invited 248 second-year medical students, 245 final-year medical students, and 48 faculty members to participate in the study. The CAIMAQ consists of 30 items, divided into five categories assessing various aspects of CAM, and scored using a 7-point Likert scale. The median scores obtained were compared between groups; a p-value < 0.05 was considered statistically significant. Results: A total of 138 medical students and faculty responded and participated in the study, of which, 24 (17.4%) were faculty, 40 (29%) were final-year medical students and 74 (53.6%) were second-year medical students. The overall attitude towards the various CAM concepts and therapies was positive. In general, the faculty were significantly less likely to consider referring patients for CAIM treatments, integrating them with conventional medicine, referring patients to alternative healthcare providers, considering the use of subtle energy fields as an ethical form of treatment, or considering CAIM treatments to be less invasive and harmful compared with conventional medicine. There was no significant difference in the attitudes of second- and final-year students. Conclusion: The attitude of medical students and doctors towards CAM is positive, and although the medical faculty have reservations in recommending specific types of CAM therapies or integrating them with conventional care, building evidence for supporting CAM therapies in specific diseases is likely to increase its uptake among health care professionals.

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