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Relationships Between Awareness, Knowledge, Attitudes And Coping Mechanisms In Epilepsy

Selamat Widiasmoro Neni, Pei Lin Lua


Objective: The relationships between awareness, knowledge and attitudes (AKA) and coping mechanisms among people with epilepsy (PWE) have not been well-explored particularly in Asia. This study aimed to: identify preferred coping strategies, correlate between AKA and coping mechanisms and compare coping strategies of PWE with different AKA levels. Methods: A cross-sectional sample of epilepsy out-patients was recruited from the Neurology Clinic, Hospital Sultanah Nur Zahirah, Kuala Terengganu. The participants completed the Malay AKA Epilepsy and the Malay Brief COPE instruments. The data was analysed using non-parametric statistics. Results: Sixty out of 72 patients (response rate = 83.3%) consented participation (median age = 27.5 years; male = 53.3%; unmarried = 63.3%; Malay = 90.0%; SPM education = 54.2%; unemployed = 35.0%; rural residents = 70.0%). Religion was the most preferred coping strategy (93.3%), followed by Emotional Support (86.7%) and Instrumental Support (81.7%). Awareness was negatively correlated with Instrumental Support (rs = -0.268; p<0.05) while Knowledge was positively linked to Humour (rs = +0.267; p<0.05). Positive associations between Attitudes versus Active Coping and Positive Reframing were also detected (rs = +0.284 to +0.331; p<0.05). Patients with good AKA levels coped significantly better through Self Distraction, Positive Reframing and Humour (p<0.01). Conclusion: AKA levels seemed to influence the type of coping strategies adopted by PWE in dealing with their illness suggesting that, efforts in improving AKA level should be combined with appropriate coping strategies to provide better health outcomes in epilepsy management. ASEAN Journal of Psychiatry, Vol.12(2), July – Dec 2011: XX XX.