Publication details

The long-term development of public attitudes towards people with epilepsy in the Czech Republic: 1981, 1984, 1998 and 2009 studies



Year of publication 2017
Type Article in Periodical
Magazine / Source Acta Neurologica Scandinavica
MU Faculty or unit

Central European Institute of Technology

Field Neurology, neurosurgery, neurosciences
Keywords attitudes; epilepsy; long-term; politics; public; questionnaire; stigma
Description Objective: The long-term development of public attitudes towards people with epilepsy (PWE) was studied. Methods: Four questions (Q) used in Czech questionnaires for studies in 1981, 1984, 1998 and 2009 concerned: Q1, familiarity with the concept of epilepsy; Q2, tolerance towards children with epilepsy; Q3, whether epilepsy is considered to be a mental disease; and Q4, attitudes towards employment of PWE. Results: The quality of information about epilepsy increased significantly between 1981 and 1998, 1981 and 2009, and 1998 and 2009. The 1981 and 1984 studies reflected a level of information inferior to the levels seen in Germany and the USA, and the difference had almost disappeared in 1998 and 2009. Conclusions: The long--term follow-up studies in Czech Republic displayed a permanent increase in knowledge about epilepsy. This may reflect the progress in the spread of information, the efforts of patient associations and specialists and perhaps also a change in general attitudes towards people with disabilities. The dramatic change of information levels in Czech surveys could also reflect the change of the political system in 1989. A question that remains to be answered is the extent to which the positive trend reflects positive attitudes in real life. The answers to questions concerning whether people would be willing to help a person having a seizure remain unsatisfactory. Greater efforts should be made to improve the situation of PWE and to minimize their stigmatization.
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