Background: Mothers are the central supportive structure in most households. Mothers can become overwhelmed by informational overload when selecting the most appropriate modalities of care to provide for their families during the pandemic. The researcher sought to discover the prevalence of complementary or alternative medicine usage (CAM) for the prevention of coronavirus illness or symptoms management. Additionally, the researcher sought to identify the relationship between three additional mental constructs; knowledge, attitudes and beliefs, and constructs of the Health Belief Model, that could affect CAM adoption.

Methods: A cross-sectional survey was dispersed to 5 private Facebook groups. The survey was targeted to collect responses only from mothers, over the age of 18, who could speak English. The survey anonymously collected demographic information, personal coronavirus experiences, HBM-focused questions, and coronavirus knowledge, attitude, and belief questions.

Results: Initial analysis showed that 14% of survey respondents had tested positive for COVID-19, regardless of experiencing symptoms, or not. Further analysis related to hypothesis testing yielded that the HBM construct of perceived susceptibility significantly influenced some mothers’ decisions to adopt CAM for coronavirus illness treatment (p-value=.049). No other constructs of the HBM were found to be significantly influencing mothers’ decision to use CAM for coronavirus illness or treatment. The age of the respondents significantly impacted some mothers’ adoption of CAM to treat coronavirus illness, with older mothers more likely to adopt CAM usage than younger mothers. Knowledge scores significantly influenced mothers’ decisions to use CAM for coronavirus illness prevention (p-value=.018), yet these scores did not significantly affect can CAM usage for coronavirus illness treatment (p-value=.088). Overall, the cognitions motivating mothers to adopt CAM for coronavirus illness or prevention were completely different. This suggests that pathways of reasoning specific to prevention and treatment may have separate processes, influences, and motivations.

Conclusion: Mothers have experienced the insurmountable task of trying to balance all facets of motherhood, with the uncertainties of the pandemic. Mothers must become public health researchers, themselves, to provide the most appropriate care possible for their families. This study shows that mothers’ cognitions differ when choosing to adopt CAM for coronavirus illness versus symptom management. More research should be done to understand why patterns of behavior deviate so far from previously studies centered on the HBM, CAM, and mental constructs influencing the health behaviors of mothers. Future research should prioritize understanding factors influencing CAM usage for both prevention and treatment of coronavirus illness, as well as the relationships that vii exist between mental constructs, health behavior models and frameworks, demographics, and infection experiences.

Date of publication

Fall 12-14-2021

Document Type




Persistent identifier


Committee members

William Sorensen, Fletcher Njororai, Cheryl Cooper


Masters of Science in Health Sciences