Lobera, J., & Rogero-García, J. (2021). Scientific appearance and homeopathy. Determinants of trust in complementary and alternative medicine. Health communication, 36(10), 1278-1285
- 14 abril 2020
Several studies have investigated the motivations driving the use of complementary and alternative medicines (CAM). Nevertheless, the general public view of these therapies remains relatively unexplored. Our study identifies the social factors that determine a person’s trust in alternative therapies, like homeopathy or acupuncture, drawing conclusions from the results of the Spanish National Survey on the Social Perception of Science and Technology (N = 6,357). We show that trust in the effectiveness of CAM therapies is not mutually exclusive with a belief in science for the general public, pointing to a certain level of disinformation. The comparison with superstitions confirms a clear differentiation with the drivers of trust in analyzed CAM therapies. We argue that scientific appearance of these alternative therapies, in terms of prescription, communication and marketing, may play an important role in determining trust in them for a large part of the population. Furthermore, we confirm that women and those with higher socio-economic status are more likely to express trust in the effectiveness of CAM therapies. Additionally, distrust of the influence of big pharma on health policies seems to have an effect on viewing CAM therapies as more effective. Finally, we argue that media and pharmacies may have an effect on the scientific-like perception of CAM therapies, contributing to the social construction of trust in its effectiveness. Therefore, widespread confusion about the scientific validation of homeopathy may be among the main factors driving its successful extension as a practice.