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Objectives: The objectives of this study were to examine and describe the portrayal of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) in mass print media magazines.

Design: The sample included all 37 articles found in magazines with circulation rates of greater than 1 million published in the United States and Canada from 1980 to 2005. The analysis was quantitative and qualitative and included investigation of both manifest and latent magazine story messages.

Results: Manifest analysis noted that CAM was largely represented as a treatment for a patient with a medically diagnosed illness or specific symptoms. Discussions used biomedical terms such as patient rather than consumer and disease rather than wellness. Latent analysis revealed three themes: (1) CAMs were described as good but not good enough; (2) individualism and consumerism were venerated; and (3) questions of costs were raised in the context of confusion and ambivalence.


This is a copy of an article published in The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine © 2010 Mary Ann Liebert, Inc.; The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine is available online at: