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J Korean Med Sci. 2003 Apr;18(2):248-54.

Positive trends of public attitudes toward epilepsy after public education campaign among rural korean residents.

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Department of Neurology, Medical Research Institute, Chonnam National University Medical School, Gwangju, Korea.


To assess trends of public attitudes toward epilepsy in Korea, two surveys were performed in the same village using a common questionnaire before and after the schedule of public education on epilepsy. Cross-sectional studies were conducted by means of a door-to-door interview, in which all residents over 19 yr of age living in the survey area were targeted. Vehicles for the educational campaign took the form of lectures and small group discussions. The understanding of epilepsy among Korean respondents appeared to be not only based more on supernatural or superstitious thinking, but was also less comparable to that of other studies. The attitudes toward epilepsy also were far more negative in Korean rural areas than in other countries. The false belief that "epilepsy can not be treated" was the factor that contributed most to negative attitudes. Although a positive trend was obvious not only in understanding the cause of epilepsy but also in attitudes toward epilepsy, the majority of respondents still remain unchanged in their misunderstanding of and negative attitudes toward epilepsy. To ameliorate the social stigma against epilepsy in Korea, continuous and repetitive educational efforts as well as the sympathy of the lay societies regarding epilepsy would be needed.

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