Objective: Epilepsy is the most common neurological disorder in the world, yet it is still widely misunderstood. A lack of knowledge and negative attitudes about epilepsy are largely blamed for the stigma felt by people with epilepsy and their families. Recent calls for research into stigma have been made by the World Health Organization and international epilepsy organizations. Our objective is to describe the development, structure, and psychometric properties of the Thinking about Epilepsy questionnaire.
Methods: A 36-item questionnaire was designed to assess Grade 5 (ages 9-11) students' knowledge of and attitudes about epilepsy and to evaluate changes in knowledge and attitudes following an epilepsy education program. The questionnaire contains 18 knowledge, 10 attitude, and 8 demographic questions.
Results: Psychometric properties of the Thinking about Epilepsy questionnaire were ascertained using data from 783 Grade 5 students. Three items (one knowledge item and two attitude items) were removed prior to the factor analysis due to their low extraction communalities. Factor analysis revealed a bidimensional structure (knowledge and attitudes) with five knowledge factors and two attitude factors. The questionnaire was found to have good internal consistency reliability (Cronbach's alpha=0.74 for knowledge and 0.82 for attitudes). Both the knowledge and attitude measures were deemed to have acceptable face, content, and construct validity.
Conclusion: The final 33-item Thinking about Epilepsy questionnaire demonstrates adequate reliability for the knowledge measure, good reliability for the attitude measure, and excellent validity for both measures. The Thinking about Epilepsy questionnaire offers a viable option for assessing elementary school students' knowledge and attitudes regarding epilepsy in general or in conjunction with its affiliated Thinking about Epilepsy education program.