CAM use in recently-returned OEF/OIF/OND US veterans: Demographic and psychosocial predictors

Crystal L. Park, Lucy Finkelstein-Fox, David M. Barnes, Carolyn M. Mazure, Rani Hoff

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objectives Because the use of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) is increasing among veterans, understanding more about the characteristics of veterans who use CAM is increasingly important. Studies reporting on predictors of use almost always discuss CAM in the aggregate, yet each CAM modality represents a unique approach to healthcare, and each may have different correlates as well as different effectiveness. Very little information is available about veterans’ use of each distinct modality, and about psychosocial correlates of various forms of CAM use. Design We analyzed data from wave 1 of the Survey of the Experiences of Returning Veterans (SERV) Study, which included 729 veterans returning from Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF), Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF) and Operation New Dawn (OND). Setting Data were collected by telephone interviews. Main measures We examined a range of potentially important correlates of CAM use, including demographics, military experiences, and current mental and physical health. Results Each predictor related to a unique constellation of CAM modalities; not one of the predictors examined was associated with more than half of the 12 modalities. For example, women were more likely to use acupuncture, massage, yoga, meditation and spiritual healing, and age related only to greater use of homeopathy, while deployment injuries related positively to use of chiropractic, nutrition and meditation. Conclusions Results suggest that in order to understand CAM use, CAM modalities should be considered unique and separate practices. This greater understanding should be useful for future health service provision for veterans.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)50-56
Number of pages7
JournalComplementary Therapies in Medicine
StatePublished - Oct 1 2016


  • Complementary and alternative medicine
  • Military
  • Veterans

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Complementary and Manual Therapy
  • Complementary and alternative medicine
  • Advanced and Specialized Nursing


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