Matt Dalstrom receive a B.A. from the University of Georgia, his M.A. in Applied Anthropology from Mississippi State University in 2005, and his Ph.D. in Cultural Anthropology from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. He currently teaches anthropology at Saint Anthony College of Nursing in Rockford, Illinois.
Major Professor: Ronald Loewe
The literature is very sparse in relation to usage habits of nonvitamin, nonmineral supplements (NVNM) among college students. Over the last decade, NVNM supplement sales have steadily risen to a multibillion dollar enterprise. With increased consumption comes elevated health risks. Although perceived as safe by lay people, NVNM supplements have the potential for being dangerous. Very little is known about the potential side effects of NVNM supplements and possible adverse drug reactions with pharmaceuticals. This study examined 119 college students at Mississippi State University to establish usage habits and beliefs about NVNM supplements. It was discovered that students had a tendency to base their concepts of efficacy and safety upon parental usage and belief patterns. Some of the interviewees even conceptualized NVNM supplements in direct opposition to pharmaceuticals. For them, NVNM supplements symbolized nature, purity and control over treatment. Overall, this study highlights the importance of symbolism and culture in relation to medical beliefs.