Public Attitudes Toward Epilepsy in Denmark


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Summary: Social acceptance of persons with epilepsy very often constitutes a considerable problem for patients and their relatives. Nationwide opinion polls on the knowledge of and public attitude toward epilepsy have been taken in several countries, but never in Denmark. We report a Gallup survey of the general knowledge of and attitude toward epilepsy. A representative population of 1,500 persons aged ≥15 years was selected in a four-state proportional sampling procedure. Ninety-seven percent of respondents had heard or read about epilepsy, 60% of these knew a person with epilepsy, and 50% had seen an epileptic seizure. The attitudes toward social acceptance and employment of persons with epilepsy were generally favorable, but 7% had objections to social contact between their children and persons with epilepsy in the playground and at school and 7% had objections to equal employment. Familiarity with persons with epilepsy was correlated to questions about attitudes and general knowledge of epilepsy. Such knowledge and public attitude in Denmark are mainly positive, but we believe that a continuous information campaign about epilepsy is essential, especially among youth.