Degree Name

MA (Master of Arts)



Date of Award


Committee Chair or Co-Chairs

Kelly Foster

Committee Members

Martha Copp, Joseph Baker


This study is an investigation into why people with depression and anxiety use complementary and alternative medicines at higher rates than the general population. The study examines perceptions of mental illness and meanings assigned to depression and anxiety, others’ perceptions of mental illness, and experiences with conventional medicine. All participants were using complementary and alternative medicine at the time of the study; their reasons for CAM use as well as how CAM affected perceptions of their illness were main research questions. I conducted three focus groups with individuals diagnosed with depression who were using complementary and alternative medicine as forms of treatment. Focus groups were transcribed verbatim and analyzed using the coding software Nvivo. Participants were also given two questionnaires that were analyzed using SPSS. This study shows that complementary and alternative medicine ultimately gives individuals perceived control, a sense of agency, action, and acceptance in regards to their mental illness.

Document Type

Thesis - unrestricted


Copyright by the authors.