Apr 20th, 1:00 PM - 4:00 PM
The Importance of Studying Stigma in People with Epilepsy
The present research examined the importance and value of both stigma against individuals with epilepsy and knowledge of the disorder. Participants (N = 70) received a survey questioning their personal opinions on stigma toward epilepsy. Of these participants, 69 individuals answered that they did not have epilepsy and one participant abstained from answering. These participants were psychology students enrolled in a general psychology class at Boise State University. The ages of the participants ranged from 17 to 42, and were self-selected using a program called Experimetrix. The goal of this study was to determine the frequency of negative stigma and assess college student opinions toward individuals with epilepsy. The majority of the people who participated in the study were well educated on the disorder (90%). The results indicated that there is a significant difference between not knowing an individual with epilepsy and presumed stigma. In addition, there was a significant difference between persons who know an individual with epilepsy and higher quality of life in persons who have been diagnosed. This difference suggests that knowing individuals with epilepsy contributes greatly towards positive attitudes of the disorder. The outcomes of the study stress the importance of gaining and continuing education on epilepsy as well as positively influencing the quality of life to those who have been diagnosed. This study also highlighted the importance of knowledge and interaction and shows that education and personal relationships with people with epilepsy play a large role in positive attitudes toward the disorder.