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Original Research (Original Article) 


Wejdan Abdullah Algethami et al, 2019;3(11):952–956.

International Journal of Medicine in Developing Countries

Factors associated with public knowledge and attitude to dementia: a cross sectional study

Wejdan Abdullah Algethami1*, Alaa Mohammed Alabulsalam2, Albatool Saleh Almagbool3, Njoud Saad Alwayli4, Marwa Salman Alluqmani5, Marwah Munair Algargoosh6, Albandri Ali Alzahid4, Faris Ali Al Ghasib7

Correspondence to: Wejdan Abdullah Algethami

*Intern, UCM Alqassim University, Qassim, Saudi Arabia.

Email: wejdan.algethami [at] hotmail.com

Full list of author information is available at the end of the article.

Received: 11 September 2019 | Accepted: 06 October 2019


ABSTRACT

Background:

Dementia is a condition that appears in elder individuals; it is characterized by a decline in functional, behavioral, and cognitive performance, which interfere with the daily functions of the patient and his independence. Dementia has medical and social impacts on patients, and it also affects his family and individuals around him. This study aims to investigate the knowledge and attitude as well as associated factors of the general population about dementia.


Methodology:

This study was conducted on the general population using an online survey. The study was conducted between the periods from May 2019 to August 2019. Collected data were analyzed using statistical package for the social sciences program version 21.


Results:

The study included 400 participants; 32.5% of the participants knew about dementia, whereas 67.5% had no or few knowledge. There were only 18% of the participants who thought that caring for someone with dementia could be very rewarding, 47.5% of the participants felt that dementia patients could live alone in early stage, while in late-stage, there were 75% individuals who thought that patients could be managed by medication. Each gender, age, and education level affected the level of knowledge (p = 0.01, 0.04, 0.02, respectively).


Conclusion:

There was a lack of knowledge among the general population about dementia, and they had a negative attitude toward it. Gender, age, and education level were factors that had an impact on the level of knowledge.


Keywords:

Dementia, knowledge, attitude, factors.


Introduction

Population aging is a major health and social problem in the developing countries [1]. This problem also exists in Saudi Arabia; the age of Saudi individuals is shifting toward the elderly. The number of Saudi individuals whose age was over 60 years was 1.3 million in 2016, and it is expected to be increased to 10 million by 2050 [2]. The major consequence of the trend in aging is the increase in dementia prevalence, especially Alzheimer’s disease [3]. In the US, the prevalence of dementia was 10% among elders, whose age was older than 65-year old, with Alzheimer accounting 2/3 of the overall rate [4]. The prevalence of dementia in European countries is 6.4% and is increasing with aging [5]. A study conducted at an outpatient clinic in the eastern region of Saudi Arabia showed that Alzheimer represented more than half of dementia cases (56.6%), followed by vascular dementia (24.5%), whereas 18.9% of the cases had a combination of Alzheimer and vascular dementia [1]. In a community-based Saudi study, it was found that the prevalence of dementia was 6.4% among individuals whose mean age was 67-year old [2]. Several etiologies cause dementia, and it has a medical and social impact [6]. A Saudi study reported that diabetes mellitus, heart disease, and hypertension played an essential role in dementia development; however, patients with these co-morbidities developed dementia at an earlier age [7]. Dementia is characterized by behavioral, cognitive, and functional symptoms [1]; these symptoms interfere with the daily functions of the patient and his independence [8]. As dementia has several negative impacts on the life of patients, and it is increasing, so knowledge about its risk factors is vital; however, there is a lack of knowledge about it and its factors. A national surveybased study from Australia demonstrated that the improvement to the knowledge of population is required and educational efforts should be exerted, especially for men and individuals younger than 60 years [9]. A study from Ireland revealed that the general population had confusion about the correlation between dementia and aging. Moreover, their knowledge about the risk factors and protective factors of dementia was abysmal [10]. In a study from Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, it was found that there was insufficient knowledge among the population about Alzheimer’s disease [11]. So, the present study was conducted to assess the factors associated with public knowledge and attitude toward dementia.


Methodology

This is prospective study that was conducted among the general population using an online questionnaire. The study was performed between the periods from May 2019 to August 2019. The study included questions to investigate the demographics, knowledge, and attitude of participants.

Data were analyzed using statistical package for the social sciences program version 21, a number and percent represented description of data for qualitative variables. Correlations were calculated, and p-value at ≤0.05 was considered as significant.


Results

The current study included 400 participants, 250(62.5%) of them were males. Regarding age, the most dominant age group included participants with age of 19–25 years, where they comprised 120 (30%) of all the participants. More than half of the participants 205 (51.25%) were married, and 100 (25%) were not working. More than half 260 (60%) were graduated (Table 1).

Table 1. Characteristics of participants.

Characteristics N (%)
Gender
Male 250 (62.5)
Female 150 (37.5)
Age
19.25 120 (30)
26.36 80 (20)
37.47 50 (12.5)
48.58 100 (25)
≥59 50 (12.5)
Marital status
Single 140 (35)
Married 205 (51.25)
Widow 45 (11.25)
Divorced 10 (2.5)
Employment
Not working 100 (25)
Working at government 140 (35)
Working private sector 160 (40)
Educational level
High school 90 (22.5)
University 70 (17.5)
Graduated 240 (60)

Table 2. Knowledge about dementia.

Knowledge about dementia N (%)
Do you know dementia?
Few 160 (40)
Intermediate 90 (22.5)
High 40 (10)
No 110 (27.5)
Can you take care of dementia patients?
Yes 180 (45)
No 220 (55)
Factors associated with dementia
High blood pressure 120 (30)
Familial (or genetic) 180 (45)
Heavy smoking 50 (12.5)
Poor diet 45 (11.25)
Heavy alcohol drinking 5 (1.25)

The knowledge of participants about dementia is shown in Table 2. There were 160 (40%) participants who reported that they knew a few about dementia, whereas 110 (27.5%) participants reported that they did not know about it. There were 180 (45%) participants who reported that they could take care of dementia patients; the most reported factors associated with dementia were genetic factors 180 (45%).

The total knowledge of dementia was evaluated, those with few knowledge or had no knowledge were considered having no knowledge, and they were 270 (67.5%) in number, whereas those with intermediate and high knowledge were considered to have the knowledge and they were 130 (32.5%) in number (Fig. 1). Regarding factors that may affect the knowledge of participants, it was found that knowledge was significantly affected by gender (p = 0.01), age (p = 0.04), and education level (p = 0.02) (Table 3), the number of females who had knowledge was greater than the number of males who had knowledge, older participants tended to have high knowledge than younger ones and those with higher education had more knowledge than those with lower education.

Figure 1. Knowledge of participants about dementia.

The attitude of participants toward dementia was investigated using four questions (Table 4). Regarding care for the patients with dementia, half of the participants (200), reported that this lead to their own health suffering. There were 160 (40%) participants who thought that there was time for dementia patients when they were treated as children. The attitude of participants regarding early and late stages of dementia, 190 (47.5%) and 300 (75%) of the participants thought that dementia patients could live alone in early stages and could be managed by medication in late-stage, respectively.


Discussion

It was reported in a previous Saudi study that dementia is expected to be an increasing problem in Saudi Arabia [1], so the current study was conducted to assess the knowledge and attitude of a population toward dementia and the associated factors. In the current study, there was a lack of knowledge where only 32.5% of the participants had awareness about dementia. Moreover, only 45% of the participants reported that genetic factors are associated with dementia and the same percent reported that they could take of dementia patients. In a study from Ireland, it was found that the general population in Ireland had abysmal knowledge about risk and protective factors of dementia, and they were confused about the association between dementia and aging [10]. A study from China conducted on community-dwelling older adults showed that dementia literacy was among 55.5% of the participants [12]. A study from Brazil was conducted on medical residents, and it was reported that the medical residents showed poor knowledge [13].

Table 3. Factors affecting the knowledge about dementia.

Characteristics p-value
Gender 0.01
Age 0.04
Marital status 0.3
Employment 0.1
Educational level 0.02

Table 4. Attitude of participants toward dementia.

Questions of attitude and answers N (%)
Caring for someone with dementia can
Be very lonely 128 (32)
Be very rewarding 72 (18)
Lead to own health suffering 200 (50)
For people with dementia, there comes a time when
All you can do is keep them clean, healthy & safe 60 (15)
Others make decisions for those with dementia too much 100 (25)
The person disappears 50 (12.5)
The person ceases to be treated as human 10 (2.5)
Life is not worth living 20 (5)
They are treated like children 160 (40)
In the early stage of dementia, patients can
Live alone 190 (47.5)
Driving car 30 (7.5)
Be managed by medication 90 (22.5)
Wear electronic signs 90 (22.5)
In the late stage of dementia, patients can
Live alone 30 (7.5)
Driving car 20 (5)
Be managed by medication 300 (75)
Wear electronic signs 50 (12.5)

Regarding factors affecting the knowledge of participants, it was found in this study that females, older individuals, and those with higher education, tended to have more knowledge than other participants. Both marital status and employment did not affect the level of knowledge. In a previous study, it was found that several factors affected the level of knowledge of the general population, including social class, the experience of dementia, and resident area [10]. A study from China revealed that male gender, lower education, and suspected depression affected negatively on dementia literacy [12]. Another study from China revealed that age and education had an impact on the knowledge scores [14]. Another study revealed the role of education on the level of awareness, where it was reported that the level of awareness was varied by the education level and age, which was in agreement with our findings. In the current study, regarding the attitude of the participants, half of the participants reported that caring for a person with dementia lead to own health suffering and the most dominant thought of them was that there was a time when patients were treated like children. The attitude of participants was investigated regarding the early and the late stage of dementia, regarding early stage, there were 47.5% of the participants who reported that patients could live alone, whereas in late-stage, 75% of the participants reported that patients could be managed by medication. A study on medical residents showed that the participants were optimistic about dealing with patients of dementia [13]. There were no more studies reported about the attitude towards dementia.


Conclusion

There was a lack of knowledge among the general population about dementia; also, they had a negative attitude toward it.

This study has many limitations, including few comparisons, as there are few studies conducted on this subject and small size sample, whereas some of the strength points are; this is the first Saudi study conducted on this subject there was no previous Saudi study on this subject, moreover, there is no any previous study which reported results about the attitude of general population toward dementia, this study reported the first results. It is much recommended to perform more studies about these subjects in different areas of Saudi Arabia.


List of Abbreviations

US United States
UCM Unaizah College of Medicine

Conflicts of interest

The authors declare that there is no conflict of interest regarding the publication of this article.


Funding

None.


Consent for publication

Informed consent was obtained from all the participants.


Ethical approval

Online survey was done under the super vision of Unaizah College of Medicine (UCM). all the participants agreed to participate in this research.


Author details

Wejdan Abdullah Algethami1, Alaa Mohammed Alabulsalam2, Albatool Saleh Almagbool3, Njoud Saad Alwayli4, Marwa Salman Alluqmani5, Marwah Munair Algargoosh6, Albandri Ali Alzahid4, Faris Ali Al Ghasib7

  1. Intern, UCM Alqassim University, Qassim, Saudi Arabia
  2. Intern, Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland RCSI, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
  3. Intern, Najran University, Alkhobar, Saudi Arabia
  4. Intern, AlMaarefa University, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
  5. Intern, Taibah University, Medina, Saudi Arabia
  6. Intern, Maastricht University, Maastricht, The Netherlands
  7. GP, Ministry of Health, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

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How to Cite this Article
Pubmed Style

Algethami WA, Alabdulsalam AM, Almagbool AS, Alwayli NS, Alluqmani MS, Algargoosh MM, Alzahid AA, Ghasib FAA. ‏Factors associated with public knowledge and attitude to dementia: a cross sectional study. IJMDC. 2019; 3(11): 952-956. doi:10.24911/IJMDC.51-1568202042


Web Style

Algethami WA, Alabdulsalam AM, Almagbool AS, Alwayli NS, Alluqmani MS, Algargoosh MM, Alzahid AA, Ghasib FAA. ‏Factors associated with public knowledge and attitude to dementia: a cross sectional study. https://www.ijmdc.com/?mno=65050 [Access: October 15, 2021]. doi:10.24911/IJMDC.51-1568202042


AMA (American Medical Association) Style

Algethami WA, Alabdulsalam AM, Almagbool AS, Alwayli NS, Alluqmani MS, Algargoosh MM, Alzahid AA, Ghasib FAA. ‏Factors associated with public knowledge and attitude to dementia: a cross sectional study. IJMDC. 2019; 3(11): 952-956. doi:10.24911/IJMDC.51-1568202042



Vancouver/ICMJE Style

Algethami WA, Alabdulsalam AM, Almagbool AS, Alwayli NS, Alluqmani MS, Algargoosh MM, Alzahid AA, Ghasib FAA. ‏Factors associated with public knowledge and attitude to dementia: a cross sectional study. IJMDC. (2019), [cited October 15, 2021]; 3(11): 952-956. doi:10.24911/IJMDC.51-1568202042



Harvard Style

Algethami, W. A., Alabdulsalam, . A. M., Almagbool, . A. S., Alwayli, . N. S., Alluqmani, . M. S., Algargoosh, . M. M., Alzahid, . A. A. & Ghasib, . F. A. A. (2019) ‏Factors associated with public knowledge and attitude to dementia: a cross sectional study. IJMDC, 3 (11), 952-956. doi:10.24911/IJMDC.51-1568202042



Turabian Style

Algethami, Wejdan Abdullah, Alaa Mohammed Alabdulsalam, Albatool Saleh Almagbool, Njoud Saad Alwayli, Marwa Salman Alluqmani, Marwah Munair Algargoosh, Albandri Ali Alzahid, and Faris Ali Al Ghasib. 2019. ‏Factors associated with public knowledge and attitude to dementia: a cross sectional study. International Journal of Medicine in Developing Countries, 3 (11), 952-956. doi:10.24911/IJMDC.51-1568202042



Chicago Style

Algethami, Wejdan Abdullah, Alaa Mohammed Alabdulsalam, Albatool Saleh Almagbool, Njoud Saad Alwayli, Marwa Salman Alluqmani, Marwah Munair Algargoosh, Albandri Ali Alzahid, and Faris Ali Al Ghasib. "‏Factors associated with public knowledge and attitude to dementia: a cross sectional study." International Journal of Medicine in Developing Countries 3 (2019), 952-956. doi:10.24911/IJMDC.51-1568202042



MLA (The Modern Language Association) Style

Algethami, Wejdan Abdullah, Alaa Mohammed Alabdulsalam, Albatool Saleh Almagbool, Njoud Saad Alwayli, Marwa Salman Alluqmani, Marwah Munair Algargoosh, Albandri Ali Alzahid, and Faris Ali Al Ghasib. "‏Factors associated with public knowledge and attitude to dementia: a cross sectional study." International Journal of Medicine in Developing Countries 3.11 (2019), 952-956. Print. doi:10.24911/IJMDC.51-1568202042



APA (American Psychological Association) Style

Algethami, W. A., Alabdulsalam, . A. M., Almagbool, . A. S., Alwayli, . N. S., Alluqmani, . M. S., Algargoosh, . M. M., Alzahid, . A. A. & Ghasib, . F. A. A. (2019) ‏Factors associated with public knowledge and attitude to dementia: a cross sectional study. International Journal of Medicine in Developing Countries, 3 (11), 952-956. doi:10.24911/IJMDC.51-1568202042