PhD Scientific Days 2024

Budapest, 9-10 July 2024

Poster Session C - Mental Health Sciences 1.

Changes in public attitude towards epilepsy in Hungary since 1994. A multi-criteria weighting analysis


Mengesha Biresaw1, József Vitrai2, Péter Halász3, Vivian Correa4, Anna Szűcs5
1: Institute of Behavioral Sciences
2: Széchenyi István University, Faculty of Health and Sport Sciences, Department of Preventive Health Sciences, Győr, Hungary
3: Szentágothai Doctoral School, Semmelweis University, Budapest, Hungary
4: Doctoral School of Mental Health Sciences, Semmelweis University, Budapest, Hungary
5: Department of Behavioral Sciences, Semmelweis University, Budapest, Hungary

Text of the abstract

Introduction: epilepsy is poorly understood by the community; resulting in stigmatization of people with epilepsy. Epilepsy puts medical and psychosocial burden on patients, families, and the community at large as well.
Aims: To assess the adult Hungarian population’s knowledge about and attitude towards epilepsy and compare the present findings with previous ones in 1994 and 2000.
Methods: We performed a cross-sectional survey of the Hungarian adult population from 28th February to 8th March 2023. A non-probability quota sampling with a random walk method was used. We applied the Computer-Assisted Personal Interviewing (CAPI) method and used a multi-criteria weighting procedure to correct for bias along the main socio-demographic variables. To detect changes over time, we used chi-square tests, and to analyze the effect of sociodemographic characteristics, we applied multivariate logistic regression.
Results: One thousand participants (53.1% women, mean age 48.1 ±16.75 years) representing Hungary’s population were interviewed, yielding a response rate of 80.3%. 26.3% knew someone with epilepsy (55.9% in 1994 and 51.9% in 2000), and 30.8% saw an epileptic seizure (58% in 1994 and 55.3% in 2000). Compared to the young, fewer adults and elderly people knew someone with epilepsy or had seen a seizure. Alike in 1994 and 2000, 16.6% reported objection to their children’s interaction with people with epilepsy; however, in the present study, significantly fewer people opposed their children marrying or working together with epileptic people, indicating a change in attitude (P<0.0001). Rural residents had less objection to their children’s interaction with people with epilepsy (P<0.05). People with secondary education objected significantly more often than those with primary education to their children’s interaction (P=0.037) or marriage to people with epilepsy (P=0.043), or their having equal employment (P=0.008). Higher education people were as ‘permissive’ as those with primary education.
Conclusion: Certain parameters of familiarity and attitude-markers of the Hungarian population towards epilepsy have improved. These tendencies are promising, but work is still needed; our results will hopefully evoke educational programs and campaigns against negative attitudes.
Keywords: Attitude, knowledge, stigma, epilepsy, Hungary
Funding: Semmelweis University