The effects of exposure to scenarios about dementia on stigma and attitudes toward dementia care in a Chinese community

Sheung-Tak CHENG, Chiu Wa Linda LAM, Liliane C. K. CHAN, Alexander C. B. LAW, Wai Tung Ada FUNG, Wai-chi CHAN, Cindy W. C. TAM, Wai-man CHAN

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Abstract

Background: This study investigated whether brief exposure to information has any effect on stigmatizing attitudes towards older people with dementia, and how people responded to this medical diagnosis. Methods: 494 adults were randomly assigned to three groups differentiated by experimental conditions. Group A (control) responded to questions on stigma directly. Group B (symptom) read two vignettes that described the symptoms of two fictitious individuals with dementia, before answering questions on stigma. Group C (label) read the same vignettes which ended with a statement that the person was recently diagnosed with dementia by a physician. Data were analyzed with ANOVA, together with other pre-existing between-subjects factors. Results: Brief exposure to information about dementia led to a statistically significant reduction in stigma (Groups B, C < A), regardless of whether the diagnostic label of “dementia” was included or not. Moreover, lower stigma was reported by persons who knew a relative or friend with dementia, who were younger and more educated, and who thought dementia was treatable. Conclusions: As stigmatizing attitudes toward dementia are still a hindrance to early help-seeking in Asian communities, the findings suggest that community education may play a useful role in alleviating this barrier to early detection and intervention. Copyright © 2011 International Psychogeriatric Association.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1433-1441
JournalInternational Psychogeriatrics
Volume23
Issue number9
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2011

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Dementia
Geriatric Psychiatry
Analysis of Variance
Physicians
Education
Control Groups

Bibliographical note

Cheng, S.-T., Lam, L. C. W., Chan, L. C. K., Law, A. C. B., Fung, A. W. T., Chan, W.-c., et al. (2011). The effects of exposure to scenarios about dementia on stigma and attitudes toward dementia care in a Chinese community. International Psychogeriatrics, 23(9), 1433-1441.

Keywords

  • Dementia
  • Stigma
  • Public education