December 18, 2020

Educational Interventions Improving Knowledge About Epilepsy in Preschool Children

Abstract, originally published in Epilepsy & Behavior

Objective: Sufficient public knowledge about epilepsy is a starting point for reducing epilepsy-related stigma and improving quality of life of people with this condition. Thus, interventions aimed at improving such knowledge are greatly needed. However, there is a significant lack of such interventions and none have been applied to preschool children. We aimed to develop effective interventions using the educational board game Action Zone! and a technique known as educational story, and by focusing on the acquisition of knowledge about epilepsy in children aged 5-6 years with no previous knowledge of epilepsy.

Methods: Knowledge about epilepsy was measured using a 20-item test consisting of questions selected from educational game and an 11-item test used successfully in our previous intervention study focused on children aged 9-11 years. Both measures exhibited acceptable internal consistency with Cronbach’s alpha of 0.72 and 0.67. In total, 296 children participated in three intervention studies (educational game, educational story, and a revised version of educational story). Level of knowledge was assessed immediately after each intervention and again one month later.

Results: We found that all interventions were effective (p = 0.001) in comparison of retest results with baseline of zero level of knowledge based on the statements of children before intervention. Intervention based on educational game resulted in a higher percentage of correct responses in comparison with educational story (p = 0.020). However, the revised version of educational story developed using participatory action research was superior in comparison with the original version (p < 0.001) and fully comparable with educational game (p = 0.864).

Conclusions: The results showed the aforesaid interventions were significant and effective ways to establish basic knowledge about epilepsy in the given age group.

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