alexa Traditional beliefs and knowledge base about epilepsy among university students in Ghana.


Journal of Psychiatry

Author(s): Dugbartey AT, Barimah KB

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Abstract INTRODUCTION: Epilepsy is a brain disorder characterized by abnormal neuronal electrical signal activity, which results in an array of clinical symptoms. These clinical symptoms may include unusual sensations, movements, emotions, and behavior changes. Sometimes full convulsions or partial muscle spasms may occur, as may loss of consciousness, depending on the nature and type of seizure activity. In Africa, persons with epilepsy are shunned and discriminated against in education, employment and marriage because epilepsy is often perceived as a shameful disease in the eyes of the general public. Epilepsy is also traditionally looked on as a curse by the ancestral spirits or attributed to possession by evil spirits. It is also thought to be due to witchcraft and "poisoning," and often thought to be highly contagious. OBJECTIVES: The main objective of our study was to investigate the current psychosocial beliefs and knowledge about epilepsy among university students in Ghana. METHODS: The Antonak and Rankin's (1982) Scale of Attitudes Toward Persons with Epilepsy (ATPE-Form S) was administered to a voluntarily participating sample of 173 healthy Ghanaian university students without a history of seizure disorder or epilepsy. RESULTS: Pearson product-moment correlation analyses revealed a moderate relationship between the participants' knowledge about, and attitudes toward, persons with epilepsy. Results indicated a restricted knowledge about epilepsy as well as what appears to be a growing trend toward relatively favorable attitudes toward individuals with the disorder. CONCLUSIONS: A trend toward more favorable attitudes was demonstrated in this study. Findings are therefore consistent with the view that attitudes about epilepsy among Ghanaian university students are changing.
This article was published in Ethn Dis and referenced in Journal of Psychiatry

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