Background: The negative image of Alzheimer's disease (AD) in our society has a substantial impact on treating, caring for and integrating those suffering from the disease and their relatives. Little research has been conducted on social perception of AD in the community.
Methods: The aim of this study was to investigate the perception, knowledge, opinions and beliefs about AD in the French population. A cross-sectional telephone survey of 2013 randomly selected community-dwelling people aged 18 years and over was conducted. Multivariate logistic regressions were used for identifying predictors of the personal fear of developing AD, both for the global sample and for different age groups.
Results: Sixty percent of the sample reported personal fear of developing AD. This attitude was strongly related to age, becoming predominant among the elderly. In the middle-aged group, personal fear of developing AD was highest in women with poor self-perceived health and, in particular, those who cared for someone with AD. Being a caregiver or knowing someone with the disease was also strongly associated with fear among younger adults aged 18–34.
Conclusions: These results serve as an incentive for developing special education and prevention programs focused on different age groups and caregivers of AD.
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