INTRODUCTION: A quantitative scale of public attitudes toward epilepsy is essential to determine the magnitude of social stigma against epilepsy. This study aims to develop and validate a cross-culturally applicable scale of public attitudes toward epilepsy.
METHODS: A set of questions was selected from questionnaires identified from a literature review, following which a panel review determined the final version, consisting of 18 items. A 1-5 Likert scale was used for scoring. Additional questions, related to perception of the productivity of people with epilepsy and of a modified epilepsy stigma scale, were added as part of construct validation. One hundred and thirty heterogeneous respondents were collected, consisting of various age groups, ethnicity and occupation status levels.
RESULTS: After item and factor analyses, the final version consisted of 14 items. Psychometric properties of the scale were first determined using factor analysis, which revealed a general and a personal domain, with good internal consistency (Cronbach's coefficient 0.868 and 0.633, respectively). Construct validation was demonstrated. The mean score for the personal domain was higher than that for the general domain (2.72±0.56 and 2.09±0.59, respectively). The mean scores of those with tertiary education were significantly lower for the general domain, but not for the personal domain. Age was positively correlated with the mean scores in the personal domain, but not in the general domain.
CONCLUSION: This scale is a reliable and valid scale to assess public attitudes toward epilepsy, in both the general and personal domains.