Scand J Soc Med. 1992 Mar; 20(1): 55-60.
Physicians and alternative medicine--an investigation of attitudes and practice.
Dept of Social Medicine, University of UmeÃ¥, Sweden.
In the present paper, the attitudes of three different groups of physicians toward treatment with alternative medicine have been investigated. One of the groups studied consisted of randomly selected licensed physicians from the Swedish National Board of Health and Welfare. The other two groups comprised two different associations of physicians involved with alternative medicine. One third of the former groups were positively disposed toward one or more of the alternative medical technologies, while the latter groups were more positive toward alternative medicine in general. Attitudes, along with motives for such interest, varied depending on the orientations of the different interest groups. The most common motives for expressing interest in alternative medicine included a feeling of clinical powerlessness in the face of certain problems for which patients consult a physician, and a dissatisfaction with the scientific approach of academic medicine. A minority stated that their interest in alternative medicine pre-dated their medical education. Physicians' interest in alternative medicine can be understood both as a critical reaction to academic medicine and as evidence that some alternative medical technologies are effective. Hence there is a need to determine whether there are shortcomings to be found in academic medical education and scientific ideals, and also to assess alternative medical technologies at regular intervals.