Entitled to Respect A National Survey of Teens Attitudes and Behaviors About Epilepsy and Acceptance Executive Summary

Source: Landover, MD, Epilepsy Foundation, 13 p., November 2001.

Contact: Epilepsy Foundation, 4351 Garden City Drive, Landover, MD

20785-7223. INTERNET/EMAIL:


Summary: Entitled to Respect: A National Survey of Teens' Attitudes and Behaviors About Epilepsy and Acceptance: Executive Summary summarizes the results of a survey of teens' attitudes and behaviors about epilepsy. The survey consisted of a questionnaire that was distributed to teens throughout the United States by 20 affiliates of the Epilepsy Foundation from March through July 2001 in schools selected by the affiliates. The questionnaire asked about respondents' (1) demographics; (2) awareness of epilepsy; (3) knowledge of epilepsy; (4) perceived stigmas associated with epilepsy; and (5) awareness of muscular dystrophy, human immunodeficiency virus infection/ acquired immunodeficiency syndrome, arthritis, diabetes, breast cancer, and Parkinson's Disease. Results are based on 19,441 usable questionnaires. Thirty-six percent of the respondents felt that kids with epilepsy are likely to get picked on or bullied more than other kids. Only 25 percent felt this is unlikely to happen. Thirty-one percent were not sure whether they would tell their friends if they had epilepsy. Although 31 percent of the respondents reported they would date a person with epilepsy, 44 percent were not sure, and 11 percent said that they would not date someone with epilepsy. Approximately half (49 percent) of the respondents have never heard or read about epilepsy and only 20 percent knew someone with epilepsy. Nearly half (49 percent) think epilepsy is contagious or do not have enough knowledge to know that epilepsy is not a contagious disease. Awareness and understanding of epilepsy tended to be higher among girls, older students, and whites. More than half (52 percent) of the respondents say people die from seizures and 19 percent say epilepsy is a mental illness. Based on awareness, only 34 percent of the respondents are informed about epilepsy and only 16 percent have high awareness scores. Most (62 percent) have low awareness scores. Of all the chronic health conditions asked about, the respondents were least familiar with epilepsy. Epilepsy was also the least feared. Over two thirds (68 percent) did not know what to do if someone had a seizure.

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