Quick Natural Cure-Alls: Portrayal of Traditional, Complementary, and Alternative Medicine in Serbian Online Media

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Abstract

To describe how Serbian online media cover the topic of traditional, complementary, and alternative medicine (TM/CAM), we conducted a content analysis of 182 articles from six news and six magazine websites, published July–December 2021. Biologically based treatments, predominantly herbal products framed as Serbian or Russian folk medicine, were the most common (70.9%, 205/289 practices). The practices were often presented as general health enhancers (18.4%, 71/386 claims); other common reasons given for the use of TM/CAM were to alleviate respiratory problems, boost the immunity, and detox. The tone was overwhelmingly positive, with most of the positive articles (82.4%, 145/176) neglecting to present information on potential harms of TM/CAM use. Few articles provided a recommendation to speak with a healthcare provider (13.6%, 24/176); in contrast, the recommended dosage was often explained (59.7%, 105/176). TM/CAM practitioners (15.9%, 28/176) and conventional medicine practitioners (12.5%, 22/176) were most commonly cited sources. Articles tended to appeal to TM/CAM’s tradition of use (65.3%, 115/176), naturalness (45.5%, 80/176), and convenience (40.9%, 72/176), used pseudoscientific jargon (59.7%, 105/176), and failed to cite sources for the claims that TM/CAM use is supported by science (22.2%, 39/176). Much of the information provided in Serbian online media seems to be uncritical, with a potential for misleading consumers.

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APA

Lazić, A., Petrović, M. B., Branković, M., & Žeželj, I. (2023). Quick Natural Cure-Alls: Portrayal of Traditional, Complementary, and Alternative Medicine in Serbian Online Media. Collabra: Psychology, 9(1). https://doi.org/10.1525/collabra.82189

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