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Cultural persistence and the ‘Herbal Medicine Paradox’: evidence from European data

Costa-Font, Joan ORCID: 0000-0001-7174-7919 and Sato, Azusa (2024) Cultural persistence and the ‘Herbal Medicine Paradox’: evidence from European data. Journal of Health Psychology. ISSN 1461-7277

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Identification Number: 10.1177/13591053241237031


The use of herbal or traditional medicines has survived the proliferation of modern medicine. The phenomenon has been labeled as the ‘herbal medicines paradox’ (HMP). We study whether such HMP hypothesis can be explained by the persistence of attitudes across cultural boundaries. We undertake a secondary analysis of individual-level migration data to test the persistence of the use of herbal medicines in relation to norms in the person’s country of birth (or home country). We study the association between attitudes towards herbal medicine treatments of both first (N = 3630) and second-generation (N = 1618) immigrants in 30 European countries, and the average attitudes of their sending country origins. We find robust evidence of an association that is stronger for the second-generation migrants. We document a stronger effect among maternal than paternal lineages, as well as significant heterogeneity based on migrants’ country of origin. Our estimates are robust to different sample analysis. Our estimates are consistent with a cultural explanation for the HMP.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2024 The Author(s)
Divisions: Health Policy
Subjects: R Medicine > RA Public aspects of medicine > RA0421 Public health. Hygiene. Preventive Medicine
B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
R Medicine
Date Deposited: 24 Jan 2024 11:57
Last Modified: 15 May 2024 17:51

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