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ABSTRACT: The aim of this study was to investigate the knowledge and attitudes possessed by carers of people with epilepsy.
A postal survey of 2000 carers recruited from the membership list of a UK epilepsy charity was conducted using a standard set of questions. The questions covered their knowledge of epilepsy (e.g., estimating prevalence and identifying causes of epilepsy) and their attitudes (e.g., about the characteristics of people with epilepsy).
Overall, 651 carers responded. Only 29% of carers were male, with the majority between 40 and 60 years of age. The majority of respondents (76%) overestimated the prevalence of epilepsy. Twenty-five percent believed that epilepsy was caused by stress. The majority of respondents believed that people with epilepsy were treated differently by others. Only a small percentage believed that people with epilepsy should be barred from such professions as teaching and nursing.
Carers of people with epilepsy generally possessed high levels of knowledge about most aspects of epilepsy, and their attitudes toward those with epilepsy were benign. There were, however, particular groups who were more likely to hold more positive attitudes, and these included younger and better-educated individuals. Limitations of this study include that the sample was self-selected and that only a third of the people to whom the questionnaire was mailed responded.
Epilepsy & Behavior 09/2007; 11(1):13-9. · 2.06 Impact Factor