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Keywords:

  • Epilepsy;
  • Cross-cultural;
  • Attitude;
  • Psychosocial;
  • Medical personnel;
  • Developing country;
  • Oman

Summary:  Purpose: To assess with a questionnaire the awareness and attitudes of the doctors in Oman toward epilepsy. Attitudes of society toward epilepsy have a wide-ranging influence, affecting issues as diverse as compliance with treatment and doctor–patient communication. Recent studies in both developing and developed countries suggest that within the medical profession, there is a lack of knowledge and negative attitudes toward people with epilepsy (PWE). There are no equivalent studies for Oman or the Arab world.

Methods: The questionnaire included queries on the backgrounds of the physicians, including their training and qualifications, the main sources of their knowledge of epilepsy, as well as their perceptions of the attributes and care requirements of PWE.

Results: Sixty-two percent (n = 121) of those questioned, who were medical personnel working in different regions of Oman, responded. The results suggest that, despite coming from diverse cultural backgrounds and nationalities, the practicing doctors in Oman gained knowledge of epilepsy much earlier than did their counterparts in developed countries. The majority of the respondents thought that PWE have more propensities toward dysfunctional personality and behavioral characteristics than do “normal” people. On questions relating to public image, our respondents opined that, although the general public is negative toward PWE, the realities regarding PWE should be publicized because PWE are capable of having a normal family life and being an integral part of society.

Conclusions: In spite of having an earlier exposure to seizures and sympathetic acceptance of PWE, negative views still persist on matters related to cognitive and behavior domains. It is concluded that a developing country such as Oman must inculcate more realistic perceptions and attitudes among their doctors toward PWE.