Traditional and complementary approaches to health for children: Modelling the parental decision-making process using Andersen's Sociobehavioural Model

Ava Lorenc, Nicola Crichton, Nicola Robinson

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3 Citations (Scopus)


OBJECTIVES: Traditional and complementary approaches to health (TCA) are common for children. Andersen's Sociobehavioural Model (SBM) is often used to explain healthcare decision-making. This study aimed to identify the prevalence and determinants of traditional and complementary approaches to health (TCA) in a multi-ethnic child population, and to explore whether the SBM explained TCA health care decision-making in this population.

DESIGN: Cross-sectional questionnaire survey. NHS ethical approval was given.

SETTING: GP waiting rooms, Northwest London.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURE AND ANALYSIS: All carers/parents (with children under 16), attending GP appointments on specific days, were asked to complete a questionnaire about TCA use; primary outcome 12-month child TCA use. Forward stepwise logistic regression tested appropriateness of the SBM.

RESULTS: A total of 394 questionnaires were returned, representing 737 children; a quarter White British. Prevalence of 12-month TCA use was 45.4%, mainly food-based herbs/spices for minor illnesses which were used prior to GP consultation. Over half identified that TCA was part of their ethnic/cultural background. Only 29% had discussed TCA with their GP. The strongest predictor of child TCA use in the SBM was carer TCA use, itself influenced by carer gender and ethnicity, and GP advice. Need factors were not influential.

CONCLUSIONS: Child TCA use was common in this multi-ethnic community, particularly the use of food-based remedies for minor illnesses, and carers' experience and background are central in deciding to use TCA for a child. TCA appears practiced as part of cultural background, with implications for GPs to be aware of their role in guiding patients to ensure safe practice.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)277-85
Number of pages9
JournalComplementary therapies in medicine
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2013



  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Complementary Therapies
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Decision Making
  • Female
  • Health Behavior
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Logistic Models
  • London
  • Male
  • Models, Psychological
  • Parents
  • Questionnaires

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