Author: Emilia Hermelinda Lopera-Pareja – CIEMAT, Spain
Co-author: Carolina Moreno-Castro – University of Valencia
Complementary and Alternative Medicines (CAM) encompass a wide and diverse array of techniques and, although most of them only provide well-being and comfort, others can directly influence health and, consequently, are not exempt of risks. These risks can even lead to death in the case of very serious diseases, such as cancer, if patients abandon conventional therapies to be treated exclusively with alternative ones. At present, there is a heated debate on this issue in Spain whose social evolution and political regulation might depend on how CAM are communicated in the coming years in several spheres of interest such as medicine itself, but also the media and even in formal education. The main objective of this paper is precisely to explore the attitudes and beliefs toward CAM among medicine, nursing, journalism and teaching students in their key role as budding science storytellers in communicating and/or managing the use of these therapies in the near future. For this purpose, a validated Spanish version of the 10-item Complementary and Alternative Medicines Health Belief Questionnaire (CHBQ) -7 point Likert scale- was administered for the first time to a sample of 234 medicine, nursing, journalism and teaching undergraduate students at different universities of Valencia (Spain). Because the maximum score on the CHBQ is 70, a positive attitude toward CAM was predefined as a total mean score of 35. Our results showed positive attitudes among students since the CHBQ overall mean score was 41.7 (standard deviation= 11). On the other hand, journalism and medicine students reported certain degree of criticism or caution -a lower mean score (34.2 and 37.8, respectively)-. These findings can be helpful in addressing CAM management, policymaking and communication processes.
Presentation type: Individual paper
Area of interest: Influencing policies through science communication