Predictors for negative attitudes toward subjects with epilepsy: a representative survey in the general public in Austria

Epilepsia. 2005 May;46(5):736-42. doi: 10.1111/j.1528-1167.2005.52404.x.


Purpose: To assess knowledge of and attitudes toward epilepsy in the Austrian general public and to identify independent predictors of negative attitudes.

Methods: A survey consisting of a representative sample of 2,128 Austrian adults was commissioned. A questionnaire similar to the ones used in earlier studies in other countries was used. The independent influence of socioeconomic variables and of knowledge and concepts about epilepsy on attitudes were analyzed by using logistic stepwise regression procedure.

Results: Nearly 10% of respondents expressed negative attitudes toward people with epilepsy. These figures are similar to those of other studies performed in comparable societies. In addition to being male and of low socioeconomic background, having little theoretical knowledge about epilepsy, misconceptions of epilepsy as a form of insanity, and no personal acquaintance with someone with epilepsy independently predispose to unfavorable attitudes toward epilepsy.

Conclusions: Information campaigns on epilepsy are likely to improve attitudes toward epilepsy when they target misconceptions about epilepsy and when they offer opportunities for personal acquaintance with people with epilepsy.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Attitude to Health*
  • Austria / epidemiology
  • Cross-Cultural Comparison
  • Epilepsy / epidemiology*
  • Female
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice
  • Humans
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Prejudice*
  • Probability
  • Public Opinion
  • Residence Characteristics / statistics & numerical data
  • Social Class
  • Surveys and Questionnaires