Paradigm shifts in health care: Consumers' personal theories of health

Susan Schultz Kleine, Renée Shaw Hughner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Health care in the United States is undergoing a profound change as reflected by the increasing availability and use of alternative health care goods and services such as acupuncture, homeopathy, chiropractic, or herbalism. With this change comes a shift in consumers' mindsets about health. The article describes an exploratory study that identifies four theories of health that are held among consumers. The results demonstrate that consumers' mindsets about health are not watered-down versions of practitioners' viewpoints, nor do consumers' beliefs neatly correspond to any orthodox approach to health care. Instead, their personal theories are complex amalgams of tacit knowledge and new information, often combining ideas from belief systems that are incommensurate or contradictory. Implications for health care consumer research and health care practice are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)187-202
Number of pages16
JournalComplementary Health Practice Review
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1999
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Complementary and alternative medicine


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