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Keywords

Discrimination, Complementary Medicine, Race/Ethnicity, Nativity, Trust

Abstract

This study examines the relationship between racial/ethnic discrimination in medical settings, distrust in conventional medicine, and attitudes toward complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) among a racially/ethnically diverse sample. We also investigate how this relationship differs by nativity. Data are from a 2008 statewide stratified sample of publicly insured adults in Minnesota (N=2,194). Discrimination was measured as self-reported unfair treatment in medical settings due to race, ethnicity, and/or nationality. Outcomes are trust in conventional providers/medicine and attitudes toward CAM modalities. Discrimination in medical settings was positively associated with 1) distrust in conventional providers and 2) favorable attitudes toward CAM. Foreign-born status was associated with more distrust in conventional providers/medicine and more positive attitudes toward CAM. Our findings show that for publicly insured, and especially minority and foreign-born individuals, CAM may represent a response to disenfranchisement in conventional medical settings and resulting distrust.