Faculty Scholarly Dissemination Grants


What Does It Mean to Use Traditional Chinese Medicine


School of Communications


College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

Date Range



It has been reported that in the United States, the proportion of adults using CAM practices increased from 34% in 1990 to 62% in 2002 (Pagan & Pauly, 2005). The increased prevalence of CAM use has become a phenomenon that interests a variety of scholars, which lead to a burgeoning of CAM-related research. However, far less is known about CAM use in different ethnic populations. The use of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) has been reported to be prevalent among elderly individuals (Green, Bradby, Chan, & lee, 2006). Previous studies have concluded that the elderly Chinese who came from a culture where TCM is widely practiced may choose TCM because of the perceived match between its practices and their own health-related beliefs and values (Furnham & Beard, 1995; Vincent & Furnham, 1996). Some early findings surely explain why Chinese population has a high rate of TCM use but, little is known about what CAM practices mean to specific groups of patient. Therefore, the author proposes that we should situate health and illness management in social contexts (e.g., family and networks) and examine what the cultural health care practice (e.g., TCM) means to the elderly Chinese immigrants. Unlike previous quantitative-driven studies, the current study takes a qualitative approach engaging in conversations with the elderly Chinese immigrants regarding their health care practice with the attempt to provide an insightful understanding about their use of TCM.

Conference Name

NEPCA (The Northeast Popular Culture/American Culture Association

Conference Location


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