Knowledge and attitudes about epilepsy: A survey of high school students in Germany

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Purpose Attitudes concerning epilepsy improved over the last few decades, but children with epilepsy still suffer from stigmatisation. Data about unaffected children's knowledge of and attitudes about epilepsy is scarce. Methods We developed a questionnaire regarding epilepsy for high school students attending 8th–10th grade. The survey was performed from October 2015 to March 2016 in 5 different federal states of Germany. Results 1092 students [mean age (Q25/75): 14.5 (14/15) years] participated. 542/1092 (50%) of the respondents knew that people could die from a seizure. 216/1092 (20%) thought emotional strain could cause epilepsy. Asked for measures they would perform in case of a seizure, 235/1092 (24%) participants would hold the person to the ground, and 182/1092 (19%) would put a solid object into the person's mouth. 28/1092 (3%) would not like to be friends with a person with epilepsy, and 237/1092 (22%) would not like to go on a date with a person with epilepsy. Answers of 342/1092 (31%) students of a school located nearby a specialised epilepsy centre differed in some questions. The latter students were more familiar with epilepsy and showed better knowledge concerning causes, symptoms and treatment of epilepsy. In a question about special characteristics of people with epilepsy, 63/342 (18%) [other schools: 52/750 (11%)] answered people with epilepsy were friendlier and 76/342 (22%) [other schools: 49/750 (11%)] answered they were more sociable compared to people without epilepsy. Conclusion To improve knowledge and attitudes and reduce misconceptions further education seems necessary.




Jansen, P., Neininger, M. P., Bernhard, M. K., Kiess, W., Merkenschlager, A., Bertsche, T., & Bertsche, A. (2017). Knowledge and attitudes about epilepsy: A survey of high school students in Germany. Seizure, 51, 139–144.

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