Apstrakti i saopštenja

  1. Lazić, A., Petrović, M.B., Branković, M., & Žeželj, I. (2023, September 4th-8th). ‘What is old and natural is harmless’: Traditional, complementary, and alternative medicine in online media. 37th Annual Conference of the European Health Psychology Society, Bremen, Germany.

    Pogledaj članak Apstrakt

    Background: When the media does not adhere to reporting guidelines regarding traditional, complementary, and alternative medicine (TM/CAM), this may deceive or mislead consumers about the safety and efficacy of these practices. We analyzed whether Serbian online media adheres to reporting guidelines and described dominant psychological appeals used to promote TM/CAM. Methods: We conducted a content analysis of 182 articles from six news and six magazine websites, published July–December 2021.
    Findings: Biologically based treatments – predominantly herbal products – were the most common (205/289 practices). TM/CAM
    practices were claimed to improve general health (71/386 claims), as well as to alleviate respiratory problems, boost the immunity, and detox the body. The tone was overwhelmingly positive, with most of the positive articles (145/176) neglecting to disclose the potential harms of TM/CAM. Few articles provided a recommendation to speak with a healthcare provider (24/176). Articles tended to appeal to TM/CAM’s long tradition of use (115/176), naturalness (80/176), and convenience (72/176). They used vague pseudoscientific jargon (105/176) and failed to cite sources for the claims that TM/CAM use is supported by science (39/176).
    Discussion: Given that TM/CAM use may lead to harmful outcomes (such as adverse events, avoidance of official treatment or interaction with it), Serbian online media reports on TM/CAM are inadequate to assist consumers’ decision-making. Our findings highlight issues that need to be addressed towards ensuring more critical health reporting, and, ultimately, better informed TM/CAM consumption choices.

  2. Petrović, M., Purić, D., Branković, M., Lukić, P., Ninković, M., & Žeželj, I. (2023, June 30th-July 4th). Irrational health choices: What drives people to not adhere to science-based recommendations and resort to alternatives. 19th General Meeting of the European Association of Social Psychology, Krakow, Poland.

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    While some health practices are supported by science and recommended by authorities, for others scientific evidence-base might be lacking or is yet to be established. Both non-adhering to recommendations and resorting to non evidence-based practices (typically in the domain of traditional, complementary and alternative medicine (TCAM)) can be detrimental for health. We investigated psychological roots of two types of health practices, focusing on  their relationship with an “irrational mindset”, an umbrella term comprising certain cognitive biases, belief in conspiracy theories, superstition and magical health beliefs. In a preregistered study (N = 583) we contrasted how an irrational mindset contributes to the prediction of both types of health practices, above other  relevant factors, such as sociodemographics, ideological beliefs,  health status or relation to the healthcare system. Although the two types of health practices were positively related, they could be traced to different predictors: non-adherence was primarily explained by negative experiences with the health system, whilst irrational mindset did not additionally contribute. In contrast, irrational mindset consistently added to the prediction of different types of TCAM use, with magical health beliefs being the strongest predictor. We highlight the importance of tailoring interventions to the type of health practices so they also target underlying irrational beliefs, on top of providing correct information.

  3. Žeželj, I., Ninković M., & Petrović, M. (2023, June 30th-July 4th). From distrust in science to pseudoscience: Psychological roots of resorting to questionable health practices. 19th General Meeting of the European Association of Social Psychology, Krakow, Poland.

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    In an effort to preserve their health, people may rely on official medical recommendations, or turn to non-evidence based, pseudoscientific practices (from unproven traditional herbal remedies to alternative medical systems like homeopathy). These pseudoscientific practices (PSP) may be particularly appealing to people with a “high entropy” mindset, i.e. more prone to endorsing irrational beliefs, such as conspiracy theories, superstition or mutually contradictory beliefs (i.e. doublethink). These irrational beliefs may further stem from the lack of trust in the official epistemic authorities, with science being the most prominent one. Drawing from a student sample (N=270), we tested path models in which distrust in science (both general and in specific domains) predicts the use of PSP through the endorsement of irrational beliefs. General distrust in science indirectly affected the use of PSP, through all three types of irrational beliefs. Lack of trust in science of genetically modified foods predicted the use of PSP both directly, and indirectly through all three types of irrational beliefs. Lack of trust in climate science, biotechnology and nuclear energy, on the other hand, did not contribute to the prediction, indicating cultural differences in the scientific content being disputed in the media. Interventions aiming to foster better health decisions should therefore aim to build general trust in science and to challenge specific irrational beliefs.

  4. Purić, D., Opačić, G., Petrović, M., Stanković, S., Lazić, A., Lukić, P., Lazarević, L., Teovanović, P., Zupan, Z., Ninković, M., Branković, M., Živanović, M., & Žeželj, I. (2023). To prevent or to cure: How people use traditional, complementary and alternative medicine. 29th Empirical Studies in Psychology, Belgrade, Serbia. Book of Abstracts, pp. 55-56.

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    To understand the reasons behind the trend of growing use of traditional, complementary and alternative (TCAM) practices we should first reflect on how people use them to prevent disease/promote health, to treat medical conditions by complementing official medical
    treatments, or as an alternative to them. A total of N = 583 (Mage = 39.01 years, SDage = 12.10; 74.4% females) participants from Serbia completed an online survey including a list of 24 TCAM practices, grouped into four domains: Alternative Medical Systems (e.g., acupuncture, homeopathy), Natural product-based practices (e.g., herbal extracts/supplements), New Age medicine (e.g., yoga, mindfulness) and Rituals/Customs (e.g., visiting monasteries for health). Participants who indicated using a certain practice in the past year were asked to consider their most recent experience with that practice and choose only one option for how they used it: for
    preventive purposes/advancing health, at the same time with official medicine therapy, instead of official medicine therapy. Participants also provided information on whether a TCAM practitioner was involved in their last use of any of the TCAM practices and how often, in general, they consult TCAM practitioners. Overall, 63%, 95%CI [60, 65] of participants used TCAM practices for preventive purposes, 31% [29, 34] in parallel with, and 6% [5, 8] as an alternative to official treatments. Of the four domains of TCAM use, New Age medicine and
    Rituals/Customs were most frequently used for prevention, with 78% [74, 83] and 77% [72, 82], respectively, while Natural product-based practices were used for prevention in 57% [54, 60] and Alternative Medical Systems in 41% [33, 49] of the cases. Alternative use of TCAM
    practices was the most common in the case of Alternative Medical Systems (21% [14, 28]), while it amounted to no more than 7% of participants for any of the other domains. For 24% of participants, a TCAM practitioner was present during their last TCAM use, 10% reported a practitioner previously prescribing the practice, while 66% of participants reported no practitioner involvement. The results suggest the importance of treating different domains of TCAM practices separately, as they may have different impacts on people’s health behavior. We especially point to the importance of monitoring adherence to alternative medical systems, as they may potentially distract patients from official therapies and thus further compromise their health.

    Ključne reči: alternative medicine, traditional medicine, preventive TCAM use, alternative TCAM use, health behaviors

  5. Purić, D., Petrović, M., Teovanović, P., Živanović, M., Ninković, M., Zupan, Z., Lazarević, L., Stanković, S., Lukić, P., Branković, M., Opačić, G., Lazić, A., & Žeželj, I. (2023). The latent structure of traditional, complementary, and alternative medicine practices based on patterns of use. 29th Empirical Studies in Psychology, Belgrade, Serbia. Book of Abstracts, pp. 54-55.

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    Despite unknown efficiency, known risks, and associated adverse effects of certain traditional, complementary, and alternative medicine (TCAM) practices, the number of people using them appears to be on the rise. Existing taxonomies of TCAM practices mostly relied on either conceptual reasons, or they relied on attitudes toward TCAM, rather than its actual use. In this study, we sought to group TCAM practices based on their patterns of use. A sample of N = 583 (Mage = 39.01 years, SDage = 12.10; 74.4% females) participants residing in Serbia completed an online survey including a list of 71 TCAM practices. For each practice, they indicated if and when they used it to promote their own or their children’s health (options: never heard about it/never used it/more than a year ago/in the past year/during the past two weeks). To evaluate the lifetime use of TCAM, we binarized all TCAM items to reflect whether participants have ever used a given practice (never using a practice was coded as 0, using it at least once as 1). After excluding items with frequencies below 5%, we performed an exploratory factor analysis on the tetrachoric correlation matrix for the remaining 49 items. Using a minimum residual method of extraction and oblimin rotation, we identified four meaningful factors explaining 42% of total variance: 1) Natural product–based practices (NP) comprising the use of products such as extracts and supplements of herbal and non–herbal origin; 2) Rituals/Customs (RC) which reflected the use of traditional medicine and religious practices, such as visiting monasteries; 3) New age medicine (NA) incorporating mind–body therapies and energy medicine practices; and 4) Alternative medical systems (AMS) such as acupuncture, homeopathy, quantum medicine, and osteopathy/chiropractic. Factor correlations ranged from r = .18, p <.001 for RC and AMS to r = .30, p < .001 for NA and AMS. The latent structure we obtained based on the pattern of TCAM use corresponds closely to existing conceptual typologies, as well as to those based on attitudes toward TCAM. This suggests that consumers are sensitive to common characteristics of certain TCAM treatments and are more likely to resort to similar types of TCAM practices to promote their health. The existence of relatively independent factors of TCAM use opens the possibility of differential patterns of their psychological predictors and health-related outcomes.

    Ključne reči: alternative medicine, traditional medicine, TCAM taxonomy, TCAM use, health behaviors

  6. Žeželj, I., Knežević, G., Opačić, G., Lazarević, L., Purić, D., Branković, M., Zupan, Z., Teovanović, P., Živanović, M., Stanković, S., Lazić, A., Lukić, P., Ninković, M., & Petrović, M. (2022). REASON4HEALTH: Rationale and impact. 28th Empirical Studies in Psychology, Belgrade, Serbia. Book of Abstracts, pp. 26.

    Pogledaj članak Apstrakt

    Non-adherence to medical recommendations (NAR) leads to increasing mortality/disease rates and raises the costs of treatments, thus it is a burden on the healthcare system. Typically viewed as harmless, the use of traditional/complementary/alternative medicine (TM/CAM) can lead to adverse health events, but also to avoidance of official treatment or undesirable interaction with it. Thus, there is an increasing call in the medical community to promote evidence-based use of TM/CAM and adherence to official advice; understanding why consumers opt for questionable health practices can contribute to this call. We put forward a comprehensive program to study the psychological roots of these two broad categories of questionable health practices. The program offers a framework for concepts from cognitive, personality, social, and health psychology. We propose that an irrational mindset (a system of irrational thinking and beliefs), rooted in basic psychological dispositions (personality, thinking styles) makes certain consumers susceptible to NAR and TM/CAM practices. We plan to: a. explore the media environment the consumers are exposed to (e.g. predatory practices in advertising TM/CAM), b. identify the large spectrum of NAR and TM/CAM typical for the local cultural context, c. test whether irrational beliefs of very different content really form a mindset (how they are interrelated), d. measure the prevalence of NAR and TM/CAM and relate them to irrational mindset and further to personality traits, and e. test whether the TM/CAM proneness can be affected by manipulating irrational beliefs. The results will be useful to stakeholders in different ways: information on the prevalence of TM/CAM and NAR in Serbia is useful by itself, but identifying their underlying psychological mechanisms will help in understanding the most vulnerable portions of the population. In addition, we will provide useful input for designing interventions that will support consumers in making rational health decisions.

    Ključne reči: Health behaviors, Evidence-based health decisions, Adherence to medical recommendations, Traditional/Complementary medicine, Irrational mindset, Individual differences in personality/thinking styles

  7. Žeželj, I., Knežević, G., Opačić, G., Lazarević, L., Purić, D., Branković, M., Zupan, Z., Teovanović, P., Živanović, M., Stanković, S., Lazić, A., Lukić, P., Ninković, M., & Petrović, M. (2022). REASON4HEALTH: Methodology. 28th Empirical Studies in Psychology, Belgrade, Serbia. Book of Abstracts, pp. 27.

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    The main project methodology is planned in five stages that inform one another and cross-validate data from multiple methods. These include:

    (1) A study documenting online media coverage of TM/CAM practices in Serbia. This study will use a qualitative methodology and conduct a content analysis of news stories from the five most popular news websites in Serbia, focusing on identifying the types of reported
    practices and content of the advice (e.g., whether risks are addressed)

    (2) Development of instruments for assessing familiarity and frequency of two types of health behaviors: engagement with different TM/CAM practices, as well as the frequency of NAR. Instrument development will be based on the results of the qualitative study, literature review, and input from medical and CAM practitioners. The instrument will be piloted on a convenience sample

    (3) A study tracking the prevalence and the pattern of TM/CAM usage and NAR during 3 weeks on a community sample. This study will consist of a development of a mobile app and battery for experience sampling of TM/CAM and NAR behaviors over 21 days and their relations with personality and cognitive styles in a community sample

    (4) Examining the relations between these two types of health behaviors on a general population. This study will explore the relations between TM/CAM, NAR, personality, and cognitive styles in a representative sample in Serbia.

    (5) Developing interventions aimed at reducing TM/CAM use and NAR through changing the irrational mindset. This study will be experimental and will examine how inducing or reducing irrational beliefs affects health behaviors, and if certain personality traits and/or thinking styles moderate the outcome of these interventions.

    Ključne reči: General population prevalence, Experimental interventions, Content analysis, Experience sampling