Master's Theses

Date of Award

Spring 1982

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department

Psychology

Advisor

Richard P. Schellenberg

Abstract

Teacher questionnaires were distributed to a community public school system that employed 234 teachers. A total of 58 teachers returned usable questionnaires. The questionnaire surveyed teachers' knowledge and attitudes about epilepsy in several different areas. Know ledge areas assessed were; (a) recognition of the signs of epilepsy, (b) knowledge of seizure management procedures, and (c) use of resources for obtaining epilepsy information. The main attitude assessment involved comparing the teachers' semantic differential (SDS) ratings of a student who has epilepsy with the ratings of a student who does not have epilepsy. In addition to making the preceding assessment, the study examined the hypotheses that there are positive relationships between; (a) knowledge about epilepsy and attitudes toward epilepsy, (b) knowledge about epilepsy and years of teaching experience, (c) knowledge about epilepsy and personal experience with epilepsy, (d) attitudes toward epilepsy and personal experience with epilepsy, and (e) use of resources for epilepsy information and know ledge of epilepsy signs and management procedures. Results provided support for only the last of these hypotheses. The SDS findings provided some marginal evidence to suggest that teachers have different attitudes toward epileptic students than toward non-epileptic students. Individual SDS item comparisons suggested that epileptic students were rated significantly more wise, cautious, interesting, and sensitive than non-epileptic students; they were also rated as significantly less healthy and less aggressive than non-epileptic students. Overall these attitudes did not seem problematic inasmuch as it seemed very difficult to argue that they would have a negative impact on the epileptic student. It was concluded that the present attitude data provided no convincing evidence for a need for programs designed to modify teachers' attitudes about epilepsy. On the other hand, the teachers' mean scores for knowledge of seizure management procedures and recognition of epilepsy signs were interpreted as providing suggestive evidence for a need for teacher programs that impart knowledge about epilepsy. Finally, it was noted that the unsatisfactory questionnaire return rate in the present study requires that the thesis findings and conclusions be regarded as tentative. Accordingly, it was suggested that future work in this area include a replication of the present study that would involve provisions for an improved return rate. Suggestions were made as to how this replication work might also include attempts to develop an improved version of the present questionnaire.

Rights

Copyright 1982 Andrew L. Meyer

Comments

Notice: This material may be protected by copyright law (Title 17 U.S. Code).

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