Study on UK attitudes towards epilepsy
Epilepsy Action teamed up with researchers at Bangor University to get a deeper understanding of public attitudes towards epilepsy. Around 4,000 people in the UK shared their views and knowledge about epilepsy, on topics from driving to family life.
Here are the headline findings:
Risk and safety concerns
Half of respondents said they wouldn’t let their child ride in a car with a driver who has epilepsy. Almost half said they’d feel uncomfortable if their child rode in a car with a driver with epilepsy. And just over a third of people said they wouldn’t employ someone with epilepsy to babysit their child.
Personal fear and social avoidance
People responded that they wouldn’t be embarrassed if someone in their family had epilepsy. Most said they’d be happy to work with or date someone with epilepsy. A quarter of people said they’d be afraid to be alone with someone with epilepsy. And just under a quarter said they’d be nervous to be around a person with epilepsy in case they had a seizure.
Work and role expectations
Most respondents believed that people with epilepsy can be as successful as others at work and lead ‘normal’ lives. However, around a quarter believed that people with epilepsy cannot safely do many work activities that others can.
People were asked questions such as if they thought people with epilepsy were less smart than others, or whether they shouldn’t marry or have children. The results showed that most people disagreed with the statements.
So what have we learned?
Overall, the research study found that the average person in the UK has a largely positive attitude towards people with epilepsy.
However, the research also showed that
1 in 10 people had a negative attitude towards people with epilepsy and 1 in 100 had a very negative attitude. This highlights the need for more education and will inform Epilepsy Action’s future plans.
Together we will go on campaigning for change and raising vital awareness, to help the public to better understand the challenges of life with epilepsy. Thanks to your support Epilepsy Action will provide training and first aid advice so more people will feel confident to help someone with epilepsy. Read the survey online at epilepsy.org.uk/attitudes or call the Epilepsy Action Helpline on 0808 800 5050 for more information on any of the issues.