Knowledge and attitudes toward epilepsy among primary and secondary schoolteachers in Italy

Oriano Mecarelli, Giuseppe Capovilla, Antonino Romeo, Guido Rubboli, Paolo Tinuper, Ettore Beghi

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A nationwide telephone interview was conducted on a random sample of Italian schoolteachers (300 from primary and 300 from secondary schools) to ascertain knowledge and attitudes about epilepsy. Included were 516 women and 84 men aged 22 to 70. years. Thirty-seven percent of the teachers believed epilepsy starts only in childhood, 55% considered it hereditary, 46.8% declared it incurable, and only 10.5% knew surgery is a therapeutic option. Thirty-three percent considered epilepsy a moderate-to-strong limitation for marriage, 24.6% for having children, 39.7% for regular employment, and 32.8% for sports and leisure activities. Among the teachers, 66.4% declared they were unable to manage a seizing child, 24.7% were convinced that epilepsy impairs learning, 26.0% believed that it carries mental/behavioral alterations, and 36.4% thought it requires support at school. Differences in knowledge and attitudes were predicted by teachers' age and area of residency. There were no major differences between teachers and the Italian population in their knowledge and attitudes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)285-292
Number of pages8
JournalEpilepsy and Behavior
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2011


  • Attitudes
  • Epilepsy
  • Italy
  • Knowledge
  • Teachers

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Behavioral Neuroscience
  • Neurology


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