Familiarity with, understanding of, and attitudes toward epilepsy among people with epilepsy and healthy controls in South Korea

Jae Kook Yoo, Ki Young Jung, Kun Woo Park, Dae Hie Lee, Sang Kun Lee, Il Keun Lee, Yong Won Cho, Myeong Kyu Kim

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29 Citations (Scopus)


This study identifies differences between people with epilepsy (PWE) and healthy controls in South Korea with respect to their familiarity with, understanding of, and attitudes toward epilepsy. PWE and controls older than 18 years of age were recruited from outpatient clinics and health promotion centers, respectively, associated with five university hospitals located throughout the country. Structured questionnaires consisting of 18 items were administered in face-to-face interviews. The sample consisted of 1924 participants (PWE: 384, controls: 1540). The groups did not differ with respect to age, sex, and place of residence. However, the groups did differ significantly in educational, marital, and occupational status (P = 0.000). Familiarity with seizures and epilepsy (two items) did not differ significantly between the groups. Questions pertaining to understanding seizures and epilepsy (seven items) showed that controls had significantly greater misunderstanding of the etiology and long-term prognosis of epilepsy compared with PWE. Attitudes expressed toward PWE were significantly different in response to six of seven questions. Control subjects expressed more negative attitudes toward PWE than did PWE themselves, particularly concerning potential relationships with their children (e.g., friendships, marriage). In conclusion, we found significant differences between PWE and controls, particularly with respect to understanding of and attitudes toward epilepsy. We recommend the development of different strategies for PWE and controls to improve understanding of and attitudes toward epilepsy and to reduce the knowledge gap between these groups. Nationwide educational programs conducted by associated organizations and the government may provide the solution to this problem.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)260-267
Number of pages8
JournalEpilepsy and Behavior
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2009 Oct 1



  • Attitude
  • Epilepsy
  • Familiarity
  • People with epilepsy
  • Stigma
  • Understanding

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Behavioral Neuroscience

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