Complementary/alternative therapy use in older women with arthritis

Corjena Cheung

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


The purpose of this study was to describe the experiences of using complementary/alternative therapy (C/AT) in community-dwelling older women with arthritis. A descriptive qualitative approach using focus groups for data collection was conducted with a purposive sample of 27 older female C/AT users (mean age = 77.8, range = 65 to 93). Content analysis was used to identify themes, which included (a) acceptance of the incurable nature of arthritis, (b) high use of nutritional supplements, (c) use of multiple C/AT to manage symptoms, (d) physical symptoms and limited treatment options motivated C/AT use, (e) most C/AT were perceived as effective, (f) C/AT knowledge was limited among users, and (g) older women did not fully disclose their C/AT use to their primary care physician. Findings revealed that older women are motivated to use C/AT, particularly nutritional supplements, to manage arthritis symptoms without seeking medical advice from their physician. Strategies are needed to improve communication between health care providers and older patients on C/AT use for optimal management of arthritis and prevention of adverse events.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)275-283
Number of pages9
JournalResearch in Gerontological Nursing
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 2012


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