March 4, 2022

An Evaluation of the Knowledge, Attitudes, and Behaviors of Parents Regarding Epilepsy

Abstract found in PubMed originally published in Epilepsy & Behavior

Background and aims: Knowledge about epilepsy and attitudes toward people with epilepsy can influence measures taken to manage epilepsy and seizures. The support and understanding of parents of children with epilepsy are invaluable in helping develop ordinary living skills. To determine the educational needs of parents of children with epilepsy, their knowledge, attitudes, and behaviors should be evaluated. Therefore, we interviewed parents who had a child with epilepsy who was treated at the pediatric neurology clinic of a university hospital. We aimed to evaluate parents’ knowledge, attitudes, and behaviors toward children with epilepsy to determine their educational needs.

Methods: This descriptive study included 221 parents of children with epilepsy who applied to Hatay Mustafa Kemal University Medical Faculty Hospital. A questionnaire was used to collect data. Pearson and exact chi-square tests were used for analysis.

Results: In the present study, 221 parents were interviewed. A total of 66.5% of the participants were at the primary education level. The rate of participants who preferred healthcare professionals as a source of information about epilepsy was 78.9%. Forty-eight percent of the parents did not see consanguineous marriage as a reason. While some parents stated that epilepsy was supernatural, others had no idea whether it was contagious or not, and 46.2% of the participants stated that epilepsy is not a hereditary disease. The rate of those who tried nonphysician treatment was 16.3%. The rate of participants who thought that drinking alcohol would not trigger seizures was 86.9%. It was determined that 30.8% of the participants pulled the patient’s tongue out during seizures. 16.7% of participants thought that patients with epilepsy were disabled. 50.7% of the participants stated that their children with epilepsy could do any profession.

Conclusions: Our study documented parents’ lack of knowledge about epilepsy. Many parents have significant misunderstandings, negative attitudes, and parenting practices, and their knowledge and understanding of epilepsy needs to be improved.