METHODS: In 1998, a nationwide telephone survey of randomly selected households in the United States was done, including 400 adults who have used chiropractic services and 400 adults who have not. Survey participants were asked about their use, knowledge, and attitudes about chiropractic care, attitudes about personal role in health care, current source of obtaining usual and routine care, and willingness to consider use of nonmedical doctors as the usual source of such care. The analysis compares persons who have used with those who have not used chiropractic services by using a chi(2) test to determine significance of differences between the responses of the 2 groups. A multivariate analysis is done of willingness to use alternative providers for routine care.
RESULTS: Persons who have seen a doctor of chiropractic before have different attitudes and preferences about health and health care than others who have never seen a doctor of chiropractic. Almost all of persons in both groups have medical doctors that they use for routine care, and a sizeable portion of both groups would be willing to consider using a nonmedical doctor for this role. Although willingness to use a chiropractor in this role is much higher among persons who have used a chiropractor before, both groups would prefer physician assistants and nurse practitioners to chiropractors in this role.
CONCLUSION: For persons participating in this survey, unwillingness to accept the idea of a chiropractor in a primary care role may be largely due to poor knowledge about chiropractic care.
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