Alternative medicine and allergies: life satisfaction, health locus of control and quality of life.
OBJECTIVES: Little is known on psychosocial characteristics of subjects with allergies who use or do not use alternative medicine (AM). We aimed to assess health-related quality of life (QoL), life satisfaction and health locus of control of adults with allergies and to compare users and nonusers of AM in a population-based setting. METHODS: In a population-based nested case control study, computer-assisted telephone interviews were performed in subjects (n=351, age median 46 years, response 76.1%) who had reported allergies (hay fever, asthma, atopic eczema and food hypersensitivity) in a previous survey. Questions on health-related QoL and evaluated instruments measuring life satisfaction ("Questions on Life Satisfaction" (FLZ(M))) and health locus of control ("Fragebogen zur Erhebung von Kontrollüberzeugungen zu Krankheit und Gesundheit" (KKG)) were applied. RESULTS: A total of 93 subjects (26.6%), who were younger and better educated than the remaining participants (n=257), reported experiences with AM.General and health-related life satisfaction was not statistically different between users (71.5 and 71.6) and nonusers (68.5 and 67.0) of AM. Nonusers scored significantly higher for fatalistic externality (21.6) than users (19.0) of AM (P=.005, adjusted age, gender and school education). The impact on overall health-related QoL was significantly higher for users (11.7) than nonusers (10.3) of AM. This difference was also significant for the domains "physical," "psychological," "friends and family" and "leisure activities" (adjusted P<.001). CONCLUSIONS: Users and nonusers of AM with allergies can be distinguished by psychosocial characteristics such as health locus of control and QoL.