Knowledge and Perceptions of Alzheimer’s Disease in the United Kingdom



Background: Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is a global public health problem with an ageing population. Knowledge is essential to avoid AD's risk factors and promote early awareness, diagnosis and treatment of AD symptoms. AD knowledge is influenced by many cultural factors including cultural beliefs, attitudes and language barriers. This study aims: (1) to define AD knowledge level and perceptions amongst the general UK population; (2) to compare knowledge and perceptions of AD among three main ethnic groups (Asian, Blacks, and Whites); and (3) to assess potential associations of age, gender, education level, affinity with older people (65 or over), family history and caregiving history on AD knowledge.

Methods: Data was collected from 190 participants who were living in the UK from three different ethnicities, which were Asian (15.8%), Black (16.3%), and White (67.9%). Demographic characteristics of participants and AD knowledge correlation were assessed by the 30-item Alzheimer’s Disease Knowledge Scale (ADKS), comprising 7 content domains. Data analysis included bivariate correlations to show associations between demographic characteristics of participants and their ADKS score, and multivariate analysis using ANOVA to illustrate potential correlations between ethnicity groups and ADKS score.

Results: The general knowledge was found to be less than half, with 45.3% answering correctly out of all respondents. No significant differences were found for the total ADKS score between White, Black, and Asian participants. However, there were significant knowledge differences for ADKS domain scores. While Black participants had significantly more information about AD assessment and diagnosis (p=0.038), White respondents more likely to know about AD symptoms than their counterparts (p=0.009).

Conclusion: The study's findings suggest that the AD knowledge level is not adequate for all ethnic groups. Moreover, ethnic groups differ in their AD knowledge and perceptions, and therefore, differ in their needs regards health communication. The study contributes to an understanding of ethnicity differences in AD knowledge in the UK population, and may also provide input into an intervention plan for different ethnicities’ information needs.

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