News Releases
California State University, Sacramento

Posted: February 1, 1999

College Students Fret About Health Care,
Will Try "Alternative" Medicine

Few college students expect health care to improve in coming years, while most feel that rising health costs will affect their ability to get service, according to two professors at California State University, Sacramento. At the same time, the professors say, college students are becoming more interested in "alternative" therapies such as herbal medicine, chiropractic, massage, and Eastern exercise and medicine.

The findings, noted in two forthcoming studies, suggest health care providers could face tough marketing challenges with Gen-Xers, even as they're pressured to provide an additional range of therapies.

Dennis Tootelian and Ralph Gaedeke, both professors of marketing, carried out the two studies. They are based on surveys of CSUS students, most of whom were 18 to 30 and considered typical of Western public university students.

"College students are quite important to health care providers, because they're the major users of the future and are going to help their employers make major decisions about health plans," Tootelian says.

Gaedeke points out that "the prevalence of alternative medicine use among university students is not too surprising, because the use of various alternative therapies has increased from 34 percent in 1990 to 42 percent in 1997. This development offers broad opportunities for the consideration of health care providers."

The first study, "Alternative Medicine Among College Students," appears in the current edition of the Journal of Hospital Marketing and was co-authored by Cindy Holst, vice president of communications at Mercy Healthcare. The second, "Perceptions of Young Adults as to the Future of Health Care in the 21st Century," will appear in mid-1999 in Health Marketing Quarterly.

Among the findings of the perceptions study:

Among the findings of the alternative therapies study:

More information is available at (916) 278-4378.


For further information send E-Mail to:


Return to CSUS Home Page