Complementary and Alternative Medicine Mind-Body Approaches Used Among Racially and Ethnically Diverse Adolescents


      • Complementary and alternative medicine use among adolescents in the United States.
      • Health equity among racially and ethnically diverse adolescents.
      • How parents are managing chronic conditions and symptoms on behalf of their adolescents.



      The aim of this paper is to examine complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) use among racially and ethnically diverse adolescents. Greater understanding of CAM use among this group is warranted to better inform health care providers in delivering a culturally relevant health promotion approach.

      Design and methods

      A secondary data analysis was conducted using the 2012 Child Complementary and Alternative Medicine Supplement of the National Health Interview Survey (CAM-NHIS) data, which was collected from a national sample of adolescents aged 12–17 years. A logistic regression test was employed to investigate the predictors associated with CAM use among racially and ethnically diverse adolescents.


      While Black and Hispanic adolescents were the least likely to use CAM compared to their White counterparts, families with higher incomes, higher education attainment, and adolescents who experienced pain were more likely to use CAM.


      Findings suggest the need for future research to gain a greater understanding of CAM use among racially and ethnically diverse adolescents, and insights into how health disparities impact CAM use. Greater understanding of how CAM use intersects with health beliefs and outcomes is also warranted.

      Practice implications

      Based on the CAM-NHIS survey, few racially and ethnically diverse adolescents have reported use of CAM. Development of culturally appropriate instruments and methods to assess CAM use among racially and ethnically diverse adolescents may yield specific data for this population. Informed health care providers can advocate for improved access to CAM for minority adolescents and alter disparate use.
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