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Abstract

Research has shown that perceptions of control influence health-related behavior and outcomes. This study explored the influence of the control constructs in the context of the theory of cognitive adaptation to the use of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) among 551 women diagnosed with breast cancer in Portland, Oregon. The majority of these women had high perceptions of cancer control and used one or more types of CAM therapy. Multinomial logistical regression indicated that higher perceptions of control over the course and cause of cancer significantly predicted CAM use. The model combining sociodemographic variables (age, education and type of health insurance) and control variables explained more variation (R2=0.23) in predicting CAM use than the model with only sociodemographic variables (R2=0.14), indicating that perceptions of control over the cause and the course of cancer had an independent significant influence. It was concluded that the assessment of control constructs from the theory of cognitive adaptation is useful for studying CAM use among women diagnosed with breast cancer and that understanding the meanings that lie behind the decisions to use these therapies are essential for health care providers who are promoting the health and well-being of their patients. Copyright © 2003 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.