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Epilepsy Behav. 2007 Nov;11(3):351-6. Epub 2007 Sep 29.

The differential effect of epilepsy labels on employer perceptions: report of a pilot study.

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Special Education and Rehabilitation Counseling Department, University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY 40506, USA.


A multimethod pilot study is described in which employers' and human resource professionals' perceptions of three labels used for epilepsy -- epilepsy, seizure disorder, and seizure condition -- were explored. Ninety-three participants were presented with a list of 10 chronic conditions or disabilities, including one of these epilepsy labels, and asked to rank-order the likelihood that a person with each condition would be hired for an assembly/production position. The participants also ranked cover letters from fictional applicants for a customer service representative position. The fictional applicants disclosed their condition using one of the three epilepsy labels. The participants then ranked which applicant would most likely be hired. Participants were also asked whether applicants should disclose their disability in a cover letter. Rasch and chi(2) analyses were used to analyze the results. Findings suggest that epilepsy was more positively perceived than the other two labels. Almost all of the participants stated that applicants should not disclose their disability in a cover letter. The results have important implications for employment seeking and disclosure practices.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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