Award Date


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Public Health (MPH)


Environmental and Occupational Health

First Committee Member

Melva Thompson-Robinson

Second Committee Member

Marya Shegog

Third Committee Member

Courtney Coughenour

Fourth Committee Member

Anne Weisman

Number of Pages



Background: National data on complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) use, available through the National Health Interview Survey (NHIS), convey higher prevalence of CAM use among college students compared to the general U.S population. NHIS findings also highlight non-vitamin non- mineral (NVNM) products are the most widely used form of CAM in the U.S. The purpose of this study was to identify the socio-cognitive and demographic predictors of CAM and NVNM use among a racially/ethnically diverse college student body.

Methods: An online survey was used to collect data from 392 University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV) undergraduate, graduate, and professional students. Descriptive statistics, Pearson’s chi-square test of association, and binary logistic regression analysis were utilized to identify the significant predictors of CAM and NVNM use.

Results: Results showed 91.6% of participants utilized CAM in the past 12 months while 90.3% of participants utilized NVNM in the past 12 months. The most commonly used CAM therapies were mind-body therapies such as yoga, meditation, and deep breathing exercises; the most common NVNM products used were herbal teas. Family use of CAM, non-family use of CAM, and attitudes were positively associated with CAM use as well as NVNM use. Parents’ use of NVNM, positive attitude on ‘alternative therapies’, and overall health rating over respondents’ lifetime were strong predictors of NVNM use. Specifically, those participants who reported being healthier than the average person over their lifetime were less likely to utilize NVNM.

Conclusion: The results convey a higher rate of CAM and NVNM utilization among the racially/ethnically diverse sample compared to the general U.S. adult population and other college student populations in which similar studies were conducted. Based on these findings, providers, program planners, and administrators can make decisions about programming within university-based and student-focused healthcare, psychological, and recreational programs.


Dietary Supplements; Functional Medicine; Holistic Health; Integrative Medicine; Phytomedicine; Traditional Medicine


Alternative and Complementary Medicine | Public Health | Social Psychology

File Format


File Size

5900 KB

Degree Grantor

University of Nevada, Las Vegas




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