Public knowledge and attitude toward epilepsy in Bisha, Saudi Arabia
Yazeed Fahad M. Alshahrani, Nawaf Mohammad J. Altayyib, Fahad Mohammed Abdullah Al Yahya, Waleed Hadhir Saad Alharthi, Khalid Musaad S. Alzahrani, Mohammed Faisal M. Alshahrani, Saad Hadhir S. Alharthi, Ahmed Y. Al-Ameer.
Background: The misconception of the communities toward epilepsy is common and can lead to a social stigma that will affect the quality of life of people living with epilepsy (PLWE) dramatically. The aim of this study is to assess public knowledge and attitude toward epilepsy in Bisha, Saudi Arabia.
Methods: A descriptive cross-sectional study was conducted in the city of Bisha, located in the southern region of Saudi Arabia. Data were collected from the general population of Bisha through a closed-ended self-administered web-based questionnaire consisting of 20 items that assess general knowledge and attitude toward epilepsy.
Results: There were 796 participants involved in the study, 402 (50.5%) of whom were females. Of the participants, 162 (20%) had never heard or read about epilepsy before. The highest acknowledged cause of epilepsy was neurological disease (59.4%). However, some participants incorrectly believed that epilepsy is caused by an evil eye, envy (22.4%), psychological disease (22%), or possession by a demon (14.8%). The majority (89%) of participants had a positive attitude toward the ability of PLWE to work efficiently in their jobs. About 243 (30.5%) of participants thought that PLWE have a psychiatric illness, and 281 (35%) of participants would not allow their sons or daughters to get married to PLWE.
Conclusion: The study showed that there are some general misconceptions regarding epilepsy among the Bisha population. Therefore, we recommend a continuous health education program to increase the level of awareness of the general population.
Key words: Epilepsy, knowledge, attitude, Bisha.