Dissertations, Theses and Capstone Projects

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Nursing Science (DNS)



First Advisor

Dr. Janice Long

Second Advisor

Dr. Tommie Nelms

Third Advisor

Dr. Patricia Hart

Fourth Advisor

Dr. Herman Ray


Costly, debilitating and largely preventable, cardiovascular disease (CVD) and diabetes mellitus (DM) place a heavy disease burden of high morbidity, mortality, and rising health care costs on people of the United States. With mortality reports from the two diseases of over 600,000 per year and costs in excess of $176 billion, identifying alternatives to traditional models of care must be considered. Complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) therefore becomes a viable option for prevention and treatment. Using secondary data analysis of the 2007 National Health Interview Survey, the aim of the current study was to determine whether CAM use was associated with health behaviors or risk factors known to impact CVD and DM. Results indicated that CAM use was associated overall health and wellness. People who used CAM were found to have lower risk factors for CVD and or DM whereas those who did not use CAM were more likely to have CVD. The use of CAM therapies was increased in those who had hypertension, high cholesterol, and diabetes. The study findings suggest that CAM therapies may be beneficial in the prevention of CVD; and, CAM therapies may have health promoting effects for those who have DM. Recommendations for future research include identifying the specific CAM therapies used among individuals who do and do not have hypertension, high cholesterol and DM. Understanding the cost benefits of specific CAM therapy in CVD and DM could provide insights into cost effective alternative health care.