Parents’ Strategies of Managing Minor Childhood Illnesses Using Complementary and Alternative Medicine in Jordan

  •  Nesrin N. Abu-Baker    
  •  Christine Savage    
  •  Basil H. Amarneh    


BACKGROUND: Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) is a group of medical products and practices that are not part of conventional medicine.

METHOD: The aims of this study were to identify the strategies of managing minor illnesses, perceptions and significant predictors of using CAM among Jordanian parents. A cross-sectional descriptive design was used. The study was conducted in ten Ministry of Health comprehensive health centers in Jordan. A convenience sample of 328 participants was recruited and asked to complete a self-report structured questionnaire.

RESULTS: Over 80% of study participants used CAM to treat minor illness for their children. Digestive system problems, upper respiratory tract infection, and urinary tract infection were the most common managed illnesses. Herbs, prayer, and aromatherapy were the most common types of CAM therapy. The most common reasons for using CAM were making the child comfortable, supporting medical treatment, and promoting health and preventing disease. The major sources of advice were self, mother or mother in law, and friend. 72% of CAM users reported that they always consulted their health care providers about CAM use. More than 60% of the study sample perceived CAM as complementary, safe, and efficient. Finally, CAM belief, father’s education, and living with extended family significantly predicted CAM use.

CONCLUSION: Health care providers in general should be able to assess CAM use, provide accurate health education and encourage parents to consult their health care providers about CAM use.

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