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Attitudes towards persons with epilepsy as friends. Results of a factorial survey.

Authors
  • Walther, Katrin1
  • Kriwy, Peter2
  • Stritzelberger, Jenny1
  • Graf, Wolfgang1
  • Gollwitzer, Stefanie1
  • Lang, Johannes D1
  • Reindl, Caroline1
  • Schwab, Stefan1
  • Welte, Tamara M1
  • Hamer, Hajo M1
  • 1 Epilepsy Center, Department of Neurology, University Hospital Erlangen, Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg, Schwabachanlage 6, Erlangen, Germany. , (Germany)
  • 2 Institute of Sociology, Chemnitz University of Technology, Thüringer Weg 9, Chemnitz, Germany. , (Germany)
Type
Published Article
Journal
Epilepsia
Publication Date
Dec 15, 2022
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1111/epi.17491
PMID: 36520011
Source
Medline
Keywords
Language
English
License
Unknown

Abstract

Discrimination against persons with epilepsy (PWE) may still persist. The aim of the study was to examine whether epilepsy is an obstacle to desired friendship. A factorial survey (vignettes), which is less biased by social desirability, was applied to PWE, their relatives, and lay persons. The vignettes described a person who was varied by the dimensions of age (younger, same age, older), gender (male, female), disease (healthy, mild epilepsy, severe epilepsy [generalized tonic-clonic seizures], diabetes), origin (German, non-German), contact (phone/internet, activities at home, activities outside), frequency of contacts (weekly, monthly), and distance (around the corner, 10km away). Respondents rated their willingness to befriend with the person on a 10-point Likert scale. Multivariate regression determined the contribution of each dimension on the judgement. Participants were 64 PWE (age: 37.1±14.0 years), 64 relatives of PWE (age: 45.1±13.6 years), and 98 controls without contacts to PWE (age: 24.4±10.1 years). Controls were less interested in a friendship towards a PWE with mild epilepsy (-3.4%) and even more avoided PWE with severe epilepsy (-11.7%) while in PWE with tonic clonic seizures, a mild form of epilepsy was even conducive for friendship (+7.0%). Controls preferred females (+5.0%) and disliked younger people (-12.3%) and contacts via the internet or telephone (-7.3%). PWE were also less interested in younger people (-5.8%), and relatives of PWE had a lower preference in friendships with longer distance (-2.3%). PWE still suffer from a risk of social avoidance and this becomes more evident with generalized motor seizures. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

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