Primary objective: Surveys have revealed that a high proportion of the public in the US and Canada hold misconceptions pertaining to the sequelae of brain injury. This study examined whether similar misconceptions are endorsed by adults in Britain.
Research design: Survey.
Methods and procedures: Three hundred and twenty-two participants completed a 17-item questionnaire containing true or false statements about general knowledge of brain injury, coma and consciousness, memory impairments and recovery.
Main outcomes and results: Regardless of age, sex, level of education and familiarity with brain injury, participants held mistaken beliefs about consciousness, were inclined to under-estimate the extent of memory deficits and were unaware that patients are more vulnerable and less resistant to further injury. A large proportion of respondents indicated that their knowledge of brain injury had been derived from the popular media.
Conclusions: Similar misconceptions to those reported in previous studies exist in Britain. Notably in this study these misconceptions were endorsed by a greater percentage of respondents. Greater public awareness is needed for decisions concerning funding and patient care. It is therefore important for healthcare professionals and public health campaigns to dispel myths about brain injury.