Research Reports - Survivors of brain injury through the eyes of the public

Brain Inj. 2013;27(13-14):1475-91

Ralph A, Derbyshire C

Abstract Background: It is known that knowledge and attitudes are important in
determining whether society stigmatize and discriminate against specific groups.
However, there has been no systematic review of the literature measuring these
factors towards acquired brain injury (ABI). Objective: This study aimed to
systematically evaluate the literature measuring the public's (1) knowledge of
ABI and (2) attitudes towards survivors. Methods: Four databases were searched
between December 2011 and March 2012. Studies meeting the selection criteria were
included and a manual search of studies' reference lists undertaken to identify
any remaining. The quality of studies was assessed using an adapted tool.
Results: Twenty studies were reviewed, with quality assessment ratings ranging
from 47.83-91.3%. The public lacked awareness of some post-injury symptoms.
Misconceptions concerning recovery, memory difficulties and vulnerability to
second injuries were also commonly endorsed. The public demonstrated more
negative attitudes towards survivors of ABI than those with other injuries,
particularly if they deemed the individual responsible for their ABI.
Conclusions: Survivors of ABI are vulnerable to stigma and discrimination. It is
therefore essential that Government and media campaigns prioritize educating the
public about ABI and promote the inclusion of survivors.

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