Dementia knowledge and attitudes of the general public in Northern Ireland: An analysis of national survey data
School of Applied Social Science, University of Stirling, Stirling, Scotland, UK. International Psychogeriatrics
(Impact Factor: 1.93).
05/2012; 24(10):1600-13. DOI: 10.1017/S1041610212000658
This paper provides an overview of the findings from the dementia module of the 2010 Northern Ireland Life and Times (NILT) Survey: an annual survey recording public attitudes to major social policy issues. Northern Ireland, in line with many other developed countries, recently released a Dementia Strategy. The opportunity to explore the knowledge and attitudes of the general public to dementia at a national level in Northern Ireland is timely and valuable. This paper reports on an initial exploration of these attitudes, based on bivariate analysis across demographic groups.
Data were analyzed using SPSS (Version 19). Descriptive and summary statistics were produced. A series of categorical bivariate relationships were tested (chi-square) and tests of association (Cramer's V) were reported. We discuss both knowledge-related findings and attitudinal findings.
We found that the general public in Northern Ireland have a reasonably good level of knowledge about dementia. However, attitudinal measures indicate the stereotyping and infantilization of people with dementia.
This NILT module provides a unique source of data on attitudes to, and knowledge of, dementia. A key strength is that it provides statistically representative data with national level coverage. This information can be used to target public health education policies more effectively and to inform delivery of health and social services. The success of the module leads us to believe that it stands as a blue-print for collecting information on dementia in other social surveys.
Available from: Kaarin Anstey
- "The context for the promotion and maintenance of cognitive health therefore extends beyond addressing the challenge of population ageing to a broader focus on optimising cognitive functioning across the whole of adulthood (Anstey, 2014). A number of surveys have been conducted across the United States (Anderson et al., 2009; Laditka et al., 2012) the United Kingdom (McParland et al., 2012; U.K. "
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ABSTRACT: Objective: Information is required regarding cognitive health beliefs and behaviours from across the life in order to inform the design of interventions to optimise cognitive health and reduce the risk of cognitive impairment. Methods: A survey of Australian adults aged 20-89 was administered via Computer Assisted Telephone Interviewing (CATI) software to respondents recruited by random digit dialling (N = 900). Socio-demographic and self-reported health information was collected to investigate associations with cognitive health responses. Results: Alcohol abuse was nominated by the highest proportion of respondents (34.3%) as detrimental for brain health. Fewer than 5% nominated elevated cholesterol, blood pressure, obesity, poor education, or ageing. The most frequently endorsed protective activity was socialising (70%). Socio-demographic factors predicted responses. Age-group differences were apparent in the proportions nominating alcohol (X2=24.2; p<.001), drugs (X2=56.8; p<.001), smoking (X2=13.1; p=.001), nutrition (X2=20.4; p<.001), and mental activity (X2=12.8; p=.002) as relevant to brain health. Activities undertaken for cognitive benefit also differed by age. Across all ages the perceived benefit of activities was not supported by intentions to undertake activities. Conclusions: Interventions are needed to inform and motivate people across the life-course to undertake behaviours specifically to optimise their cognitive health.
Available from: Yolande Kuin
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Visual media influence the general public's perceptions and attitudes regarding people with mental conditions. This qualitative study investigates the depiction accuracy of dementia's clinical features in motion pictures.
Using the search terms 'dementia', 'Alzheimer's disease' and 'senility' movies with release dates between January 2000 and March 2012 were sought on the Internet Movie Database. Based on four selection criteria 23 movies were included. Independently, three researchers watched all movies, scored symptoms, capacities, and behaviors. Scores were discussed and refined during consensus meetings, resulting in a taxonomy of clinical features.
Various features are found, most often cognitive symptoms. Behavioral features are also shown - retiring behavior more than agitation - and various emotions, but physical symptoms are rarely depicted. Capacities are infrequently presented and are unrealistic in several of the movies.
The clinical picture of dementia portrayed in fictional movies is mild and may be misleading.
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The changing demographics of societies mean that medical students worldwide must be sufficiently prepared to care competently for patients with dementia through development of appropriate knowledge, skills, and attitudes. No previous research had explored undergraduate medical students' attitudes toward people with dementia.
An adapted version of the Approaches to Dementia Questionnaire (ADQ) was completed by 501 medical undergraduates in years 1, 3, and 5 of their degree programs in the UK and Malaysia. Non-parametric statistical analysis focused on any differences between year groups and geographical locations.
The mean ADQ response indicated a generally positive attitude across the sample, comparable with other healthcare professionals previously surveyed. Year 3 and year 5 students expressed significantly more positive attitudes than year 1 students. Year 1 students based in the UK expressed significantly more positive attitudes than year 1 student based in Malaysia, but there were no significant differences between year 3 students based in different locations.
The more positive attitudes found amongst year 3 and year 5 students compared to year 1 may be a result of teaching emphasizing a person-centered approach. The differences between entry-level students from Malaysia and the UK may reflect variance in cultural norms and expectations, or the ADQ's "Western" origin. Medical schools aiming to equip students with dementia-specific skills and knowledge can draw on the generally positive attitudes found in this study.
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