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Public knowledge about dementia in South Korea: a community-based cross-sectional survey

  • Hyun-Ju Seo (a1), Dong Young Lee (a2) and Mi Ra Sung (a3)



The highest increase in the prevalence of dementia in the elderly population is expected in South Korea than in any other country in the world. However, there is no assessment of the community-based general populations’ understanding of dementia in South Korea, in spite of the increasing burden of dementia. Thus, this study assessed the public knowledge about dementia.


This is a population-based, cross-sectional study of 2,189 participants, aged 10 years or older, and living in Seoul, South Korea. A 12-item questionnaire with true/false responses was used to assess the knowledge about dementia from June to November 2011. The data obtained were analyzed using quantitative methods.


The mean score for the knowledge about dementia was 9.0 ± 2.1 points out of 12 points. More than half of the respondents (52.7%) reported that dementia is not treatable, and one-third of the participants did not know that Alzheimer's disease is the most common cause of dementia. The level of dementia knowledge was negatively associated with increasing age, and positively associated with higher education level.


Our results suggest that although laypersons had a fair knowledge about dementia, further educational programs and campaigns are needed to improve knowledge about dementia, more focusing on elderly adults as the target audience and emphasizing the causes and treatments of dementia as educational contents.


Corresponding author

Correspondence should be addressed to: Dr. Dong Young Lee (MD, PhD), Department of Neuropsychiatry, Seoul National University Hospital, 101 Daehak-ro, Jongno-gu, Seoul 110-744, South Korea. Phone: +82-2-2072-2205; Fax: +82-2-744-7241. Email:


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