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Describing perceived stigma against Alzheimer's disease in a general population in France: the STIG-MA survey

Authors

  • Leslie Cartz Piver,

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Neurology, University Hospital, Limoges, France
    • Memory Clinic and Research Center, University Hospital, Limoges, France
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  • Philippe Nubukpo,

    1. Department of Psychogeriatry, Esquirol Hospital, Limoges, France
    2. INSERM U 1094, Tropical Neuroepidemiology Institut, Limoges University of Medicine, Limoges, France
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  • Angélique Faure,

    1. INSERM U 1094, Tropical Neuroepidemiology Institut, Limoges University of Medicine, Limoges, France
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  • Nathalie Dumoitier,

    1. Limoges University of Medicine, Limoges, France
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  • Philippe Couratier,

    1. Memory Clinic and Research Center, University Hospital, Limoges, France
    2. INSERM U 1094, Tropical Neuroepidemiology Institut, Limoges University of Medicine, Limoges, France
    3. Department of Neurology, University Hospital, Limoges, France
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  • Jean-Pierre Clément

    1. Memory Clinic and Research Center, University Hospital, Limoges, France
    2. Department of Psychogeriatry, Esquirol Hospital, Limoges, France
    3. INSERM U 1094, Tropical Neuroepidemiology Institut, Limoges University of Medicine, Limoges, France
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Correspondence to: L. Cartz Piver, Email: lcp.coglim@gmail.com

Abstract

Background

Alzheimer's disease (AD) causes progressive loss of memory and disability, especially in older people. As worldwide population grows older, AD is responsible for an important social and economical burden in many nations. People suffering from AD may experience health-related stigma that influences their attitudes towards seeking assistance. The STIG-MA survey describes perceived stigma against AD in a French population.

Methods

The STIG-MA questionnaire was completed anonymously by people attending an awareness campaign about AD in Creuse, France, in September 2010. Participants answered 10 questions about how they would feel or react if they had AD. Stigma scores were compared by age, activity, and interest in AD.

Results

Thirty-three percent of people attending the campaign filled out the survey. Most were women (85%) younger than 50 years (59%); 10% were older people (older than 75 years). Twenty-one percent worked in health or social fields. Interest in AD was professional (48%), related to family (41%), or personal (11%). Professionals in health fields expressed the highest levels of stigma (p = 0.02). Low stigma was most frequent in older people (p = 0.05). Type of interest did not influence stigma. Shame, loss of self-esteem, and fear of exclusion were expressed the most.

Conclusion

The STIG-MA survey confirms that AD is a stigmatizing condition in France. The difference between perceived stigma of older people, those most exposed to AD, and that of health professionals may influence attitudes towards screening and care. Further studies of perceived stigma in these populations are necessary to adapt intervention strategies. Copyright © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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