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August 2019

Br J Clin Psychol. 1993 May; 32 ( Pt 2)(): 237-46.

A comparison of health beliefs and behaviours of clients of orthodox and complementary medicine.

Furnham A, Bhagrath R.

Department of Psychology, University College London, UK.

This study sought to compare and contrast the beliefs and expectations of two groups--the one choosing to visit an orthodox medical general practitioner and the other a complementary medicine homeopath. Eighty patients from each group were compared and were found not to be significantly different in sex, level of education, marital status, religious or political affiliation. They completed a fairly lengthy questionnaire which examined health consciousness, perceived health risks, illness prevention, general health beliefs, treatment preference, medical history, mental health and health locus of control. Compared to patients of orthodox medicine, homeopathic patients claimed to (a) take less notice of popular health care recommendations; (b) believe in numerous 'healthy life-style' methods of preventing illness; (c) trust more in their chosen primary health professional (and to try other complementary medical practices); and (d) be dissatisfied with orthodox medicine and believe in potential self-control over health. Results were not dissimilar to previous studies (Furnham & Smith, 1988) but limitations of this particular study were considered.


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