Postmodern values, dissatisfaction with conventional medicine and popularity of alternative therapies

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109 Scopus citations


This article reviews three competing hypotheses that address the reasons people turn to alternative medicine. According to the medical outcome hypothesis, the reason is dissatisfaction with the health outcomes of conventional medicine. According to the medical encounter hypothesis, the reason is dissatisfaction with the doctor-patient interaction patterns. According to the postmodern hypothesis, the reason is the recent emergence of a new value system that is congruent with the philosophical underpinnings of alternative medicine. Multivariate analyses of results based on a random sample of individuals support the medical encounter and postmodern hypothe ses and show that the set of postmodern values, in comparison to dissatisfaction with the medical encounter, is by far a better predictor of attitudes towards alternative medicine. Future research possibilities are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)58-70
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Sociology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Mar 1998


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science

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