All ETDs from UAB

Advisory Committee Chair

Jeffrey Michael Clair

Advisory Committee Members

Michael A Flannery

Ferris J Ritchey

Christopher C Taylor

Kenneth L Wilson

Document Type


Date of Award


Degree Name by School

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) College of Arts and Sciences


Worldview is the socio-cultural compass with which we navigate the existential mysteries of life. It is our way of seeing – and being in – the world. As such it influences every aspect of culture from art to medicine. This exploratory study uses a sequential design combining quantitative and qualitative methodology to explore the worldview of allopathic and naturopathic physicians. Using survey research, the study identifies five basic components of competing worldviews among allopathic (n = 550) and naturopathic physicians (n = 399). It measures agreement among the two groups with these components and explores their influence upon support for various realms of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM), as well as upon CAM use by allopathic physicians. The results of this quantitative analysis are then used to inform a series of in-depth interviews in which allopathic and naturopathic providers serve as an expert panel to review the findings of the study. Results support the following conclusions: (1) Allopathic physicians are more likely to have an Apollonian worldview that is aggressively rational, seeks order and certitude by imposing meaning through a process of careful categorization and measurement, and favors the mechanistic framework of Newtonian science. (2) Naturopathic physicians are more likely to have a Dionysian worldview that is more iv spontaneous, embraces ambiguity, seeks meaning through holistic understanding, and in which quantum physics trumps Newtonian science. (3) Allopathic physicians with a more Dionysian outlook see CAM therapies as more efficacious than those with a more Apollonian worldview. (4) Allopathic physicians with a more Dionysian worldview are more likely to have personally used a CAM therapy than their colleagues with a more Apollonian outlook. In effect, the study indicates that worldview counts, and that its influence is contextual, varying by physician type and from one CAM domain to the next.



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