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Keywords:

  • Epilepsy;
  • Awareness;
  • Knowledge;
  • Attitudes;
  • Greece

Summary: Purpose: To assess familiarity, understanding, and attitude toward epilepsy in Greece and identification of negative predictive factors.

Methods: A 19-item questionnaire was administered to 750 adults. The magnitude of social stigma toward epileptic people with epilepsy was measured with a quantitative scale of social rejection. Statistical analysis with chi-square and multiple regression analysis were used to identify factors associated with negative attitudes.

Results: Of our respondents 38.8% knew someone with epilepsy and 50.8% had witnessed a seizure. Ninteen percent believed that epilepsy is a type of mental retardation, 15% believed it is a type of insanity, 91.8% considered epilepsy as a brain disorder while 5.2% considered it as a supernatural phenomenon. Seventy-seven percent considered epilepsy as a curable disease while 57.5% believed that the risk of inheriting it is very high. Regarding marriage to a patient with epilepsy 45.4% rejected it while regarding his employment 37.7% were positive, 47.8% were skeptical while 12.8% were against it. The Greek public's rejection tendency toward epileptic people was generally low. Negative predictive factors were older age, low educational level, unfamiliarity with epilepsy, and erroneous beliefs about epilepsy.

Conclusions: The Greek public is familiar with epilepsy but has a suboptimal level of appropriate understanding of essential aspects of the disease. The overall public's level of rejection toward people with epilepsy is low but certain groups of people are highly rejective. Information campaigns targeting specific population subgroups are necessary in Greece in order to improve the public's understanding of epilepsy and tolerance toward people with epilepsy.