Perceived Health Promotion Practice by Older Women: Use of Herbal Products

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Women age 65 and older appear to use herbal products as well as multiple prescribed and non-prescribed drugs as part of their health-promoting practice. The purpose of this study was to identify changes in herbal-product use in a sample of older women during an 18-month period and to explore differences in locus of control and perceived health competence between herbal-product users and non-users. A longitudinal and descriptive study design was used. Instruments used to guide the two sets of structured interviews included the Multidimensional Health Locus of Control (MHLC), the Perceived Health Competence Scale (PHCS), and a questionnaire about herbal-product use. The prevalence of herbal-product usage and the number of products used remained consistent between the initial and follow-up interviews, with 43% of the participants using an average of 2.6 herbal products. Neither MHLC nor PHCS scores differed between herbal-product users and non-users. Mean scores of women in the study indicated higher internal than external locus of control.

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