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dc.contributor.advisorMedvecky, Fabien
dc.contributor.advisorBering, Jesse
dc.contributor.authorKnapen, Manon
dc.date.available2019-02-26T03:13:08Z
dc.date.copyright2019
dc.identifier.citationKnapen, M. (2019). How do homeopathy users perceive homeopathy? (Thesis, Doctor of Philosophy). University of Otago. Retrieved from http://hdl.handle.net/10523/9003en
dc.identifier.urihttp://hdl.handle.net/10523/9003
dc.description.abstractLife expectancy has steadily increased over the last two centuries due to improvements in living standards, education, science and medicine. However, instead of basing health decisions on the best scientific evidence available, millions of people are currently using unsupported complementary and alternative medicines (CAM). The use of CAM is rising worldwide despite the lack of robust scientific evidence for their safety or efficacy. The central concern around the use of CAM is that users might delay or forgo the use of conventional medicine potentially leading to severe health deterioration. Homeopathy, one of the most widely used CAM, is particularly interesting as its proported mode of action is deemed impossible by current scientific knowledge. Moreover, multiple systematic reviews have come to the conclusion that homeopathy is no more effective than a placebo. Homeopathy proponents, however, claim that homeopathic remedies are an effective medical treatment, which could lead to misinformed consent of potential homeopathy users. This research project investigates how homeopathy users perceive homeopathy, especially with regards to its scientific basis. The central question addressed in this thesis is: do homeopathy users in New Zealand use homeopathic remedies because they believe the remedies to be scientifically proven to work? A sequential explanatory mixed methodology was used to answer this question, starting with collection and analysis of quantitative data via a survey. The survey results informed the design of follow-up semi-structured interviews with self-identified homeopathy users. According to the survey results, more than half of the respondents were homeopathy users. Of those respondents who were homeopathy users, 78% believed that homeopathic remedies were scientifically proven to work. This is in contrast to non-users who mostly did not believe homeopathy had a scientific basis. Interview results challenged initial findings and showed that most homeopathy users were aware of the lack of scientific evidence behind homeopathy, but used the remedies regardless. Rather than scientific evidence, it was revealed that participants valued personal, anecdotal, and traditional evidence when deciding to use homeopathy. The discussion argues that current communication efforts focused on the lack of scientific support for homeopathy fail to reach users. In dismissing users’ experiences and perceptions, science communicators risk increasing distrust in scientific evidence and potentially strengthening users’ beliefs by compounding an adversarial relationship. In order to limit risks and complications from avoiding conventional medicine, future research into health communication must be developed with users’ experiences and perceptions in mind.en_NZ
dc.format.mimetypeapplication/pdf
dc.language.isoenen_NZ
dc.publisherUniversity of Otago
dc.rightsAll items in OUR Archive are provided for private study and research purposes and are protected by copyright with all rights reserved unless otherwise indicated.
dc.subjecthomeopathyen_NZ
dc.subjectmixed-methodsen_NZ
dc.subjecthealth decision-makingen_NZ
dc.subjectevidenceen_NZ
dc.subjectscience communicationen_NZ
dc.titleHow do homeopathy users perceive homeopathy?en_NZ
dc.typeThesis
dc.date.updated2019-02-26T00:51:46Z
dc.language.rfc3066en
thesis.degree.disciplineCentre for Science Communicationen_NZ
thesis.degree.nameDoctor of Philosophyen_NZ
thesis.degree.grantorUniversity of Otago
thesis.degree.levelDoctoral
otago.openaccessOpenen_NZ
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