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Seizure. 2000 Sep;9(6):394-401.

Felt stigma and impact of epilepsy on employment status among Estonian people: exploratory study.

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Department of Neurology and Neurosurgery, Faculty of Medicine, University of Tartu, Estonia.


This article examines the impact of epilepsy and its treatment on employment status and the extent of stigma among patients with epilepsy. Clinical and demographic data concerning patients examined during a recent epidemiological survey were obtained from medical notes and postal self-completed questionnaires. Information was collected from 90 patients aged 16-70 years. A third of the respondents had been seizure-free during the last year. Thirty-nine percent were working full-time, 24% were working part-time and 11% were unemployed. Sixty-three percent from those working part-time or unemployed considered their epilepsy to be a significant reason for this. Overall, 55.4% believed they had been treated unfairly at work or when trying to get a job. Fifty-one percent of respondents felt stigmatized by epilepsy, 14% of them highly so. The level of employment among epileptic people was not lower than in the general population. The percentage of stigmatization in general and the percentage of the severely stigmatized was as high or even higher than in other studies. Occurrence of stigma and its severity depended first and foremost on the type of seizures. The frequency of seizures was not clearly related to this.

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