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Increasing Alzheimer’s Disease (AD) awareness and decreasing stigmatic beliefs among the general public are core goals of National Dementia Strategy programs. College students are one of the most important targeted populations for achieving this goal. The aim of the current study was to examine AD public stigma among Israeli and Greek college students.
A cross-sectional survey was conducted among college students in Israel and Greece using vignette methodology.
Seven hundred and fifty three college students – 213 Israeli and 540 Greek – participated in the study.
Three dimensions of stigma were assessed (cognitive, emotional, and behavioral) together with health beliefs regarding AD and socio-demographic characteristics.
Low levels of stigma were found in both samples, with Israeli students reporting statistically significant higher levels of stigmatic beliefs than Greek students in all the dimensions, except with willingness to help. Similar to stigma in the area of mental illness, the findings in both countries supported an attributional model for AD public stigma, i.e. positive correlations were found among cognitive attributions, negative emotions, and discriminatory behaviors in both countries. Differences between the countries emerged as a significant determinant of cognitive, as well as of negative emotions and willingness to help.
Our findings might help researchers and clinicians to apply the knowledge gained in the area of mental illness to the development of effective ways of reducing AD public stigma. Moreover, they allowed us to frame the understanding of AD public stigma within a socio-cultural context.
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