A study about knowledge and attitudes towards complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) among teacher training students – A pilot study based on open ended questionnaires

Author: Carolina Moreno-Castro – University of Valencia, Spain

Mavi Corell-Doménech – Florida University
Emilia Lopera-Pareja – Research Unit in Scientific Culture of the CIEMAT

The main objective of this research is to improve the methodological tool for assessing the attitudes and knowledge of university students about CAM.

A pilot study was carried out in which 209 surveys of teacher training students from Florida University (Valencia, Spain), were completed. The questionnaire used is known as the Complementary and Alternative Medicines Health Belief Questionnaire (CHBQ) and was designed and validated by Lie and Boker in 2004. The CHBQ consists of ten closed-ended items based on a Likert scale (1-7). In addition, were included three open-ended questions for a qualitative study. The responses to the closed-ended questions were analysed using the SPSS program and the answers to the open-ended questions were evaluated using the corpus linguistics software T-LAB 9. 1.

According to the results of the CHBQ, the students surveyed are undecided about their beliefs and perceptions of CAM with a slight tendency towards been in favour. They don’t believe that CAM are a threat to public health and they consider that they include ideas and methods that conventional medicines could benefit from. As regards the qualitative results, a large percentage of students said that their knowledge of CAM was by word of mouth: friends (61.2%), family (60.3%) and acquaintances or neighbours (43.1%). The students surveyed have a favourable impression of CAM as ‘natural’ and distrust scientific medicine for using ‘chemical’ drugs with harmful side effects.

This pilot study has gleaned a great deal of information about the attitudes and knowledge of CAM held by teacher training students. It illustrates the usefulness of combining quantitative and qualitative questions for future studies. This instrument is more robust and yields more detailed information.

Presentation type: Individual paper
Theme: Science
Area of interest: Building a theoretical basis for science communication