Response frequencies for all four questions were examined for each method. Researchers then examined characteristics associated with alternative medicine use, consideration of use, disclosure and perceived efficacy for the two most commonly used modalities.
"Seventy-one percent of participants reported using complementary or alternative medicine, most commonly relaxation, at 64 percent, and prayer, at 61 percent, for symptom management in the last month," Cotton says. "Adolescents would most often consider using relaxation (85 percent) and prayer (80 percent) in the future for symptom management."
Participants were most likely to tell their provider about their use of yoga and dietary changes and least likely to discuss their use of prayer and guided imagery. Relaxation and prayer were perceived to be most efficacious, while imagery and massage were perceived to be least helpful.
In addition, adolescents with more frequent asthma symptoms used prayer more often than those with less frequent symptoms. African-Americans were more likely to report using prayer and consider using prayer in the future for symptom management compared with non-African-Americans.
Also, older adolescents perceived relaxation to be more efficacious for symptom management.
"These findings show that this group of chronically ill adolescents is using complementary methods and finding them helpful," says Cotton. "Providers should consider discussing the use of complementary or alternative medicine with their patients with asthma to help improve outcomes.
"These analyses point to findings that will help physicians care not only for patients with asthma but also for those with other chronic illnesses to ensure the best outcomes physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually, producing a better quality of life."
|Contact: Katie Pence|
University of Cincinnati Academic Health Center