Alzheimer's disease (AD) causes progressive loss of memory and disability, especially in older people. As worldwide population grows older, AD is responsible for an important social and economical burden in many nations. People suffering from AD may experience health-related stigma that influences their attitudes towards seeking assistance. The STIG-MA survey describes perceived stigma against AD in a French population.Methods:
The STIG-MA questionnaire was completed anonymously by people attending an awareness campaign about AD in Creuse, France, in September 2010. Participants answered 10 questions about how they would feel or react if they had AD. Stigma scores were compared by age, activity, and interest in AD.Results:
Thirty-three percent of people attending the campaign filled out the survey. Most were women (85%) younger than 50 years (59%); 10% were older people (older than 75 years). Twenty-one percent worked in health or social fields. Interest in AD was professional (48%), related to family (41%), or personal (11%). Professionals in health fields expressed the highest levels of stigma (p = 0.02). Low stigma was most frequent in older people (p = 0.05). Type of interest did not influence stigma. Shame, loss of self-esteem, and fear of exclusion were expressed the most.Conclusion:
The STIG-MA survey confirms that AD is a stigmatizing condition in France. The difference between perceived stigma of older people, those most exposed to AD, and that of health professionals may influence attitudes towards screening and care. Further studies of perceived stigma in these populations are necessary to adapt intervention strategies. Copyright © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.