Attitude Towards Alzheimer’s Disease Among Undergraduate Students of University of the West Indies, Trinidad and Tobago LC19-LC25
Dr. Donovan A Mcgrowder,
Faculty of Medical Sciences, Department of Pathology, The University of the West Indies, Mona Campus, Jamaica.
Background: Alzheimerâ€™s disease is most common among the dementias and is characterized by gradual declines in functional and cognitive abilities. Caregivers including family members play a key role in providing critically needed care for these patients.
Objective: This study compared the knowledge and attitudes of pre-healthcare and non-medical undergraduate students towards patients with Alzheimerâ€™s disease. Materials and Methods: A cross-sectional study was conducted involving quota sampling of 691 undergraduate students (369 pre-healthcare and 322 non-medical). A 28-item questionnaire was utilised comprising of closed-ended questions and some based on a scale rating. The studentsâ€™ knowledge of Alzheimerâ€™s disease was arranged into categories such as: 0 for no knowledge about Alzheimerâ€™s disease, 1 for very little knowledge about Alzheimerâ€™s disease, 2 for fair knowledge about Alzheimerâ€™s disease and 3 for great knowledge about Alzheimerâ€™s disease.
Statistical Analysis: The data was analysed using the computer software SPSS and the Chi squared test of independence was also used to determine which knowledge variables were independent of studentâ€™s status.
Results: Overall, 40.01% of the students have great or fair knowledge of Alzheimerâ€™s disease, with that of pre-healthcare students being satisfactory (54.47%). Pre-healthcare students have a more positive attitude towards Alzheimerâ€™s disease and 82.2% of students wished to take advantage of predictive test for Alzheimerâ€™s disease. Age and genetics were identified as risk factors of the disease.
Conclusion: Pre-healthcare students had greater understanding of Alzheimerâ€™s disease and depicted a more empathetic and caring attitude towards patients. This can be attributed mainly to their knowledge and exposure toward the disease.