The social stigma attached to epilepsy very often constitutes a considerable problem and much private grief for patients and their relatives. This study was aimed at investigating "perceivers"' awareness of, attitudes toward, and understanding of epilepsy in Isparta, Turkey. Using a questionnaire survey, we interviewed, face-to-face, a random sample of 582 persons older than 18, excluding persons with epilepsy or those with relatives who had epilepsy. Eighty-one percent of respondents had heard of epilepsy, 47% knew a person with epilepsy, and 54% had seen an epileptic seizure. Somewhat less knowledgable were the elderly and less educated individuals. Attitudes toward social acceptance and employment of persons with epilepsy were generally negative, especially to children's associations and marriage. Twelve percent considered epilepsy as a form of insanity. Although understanding of epilepsy was favorable, the results indicate that there exists significant discrimination against persons with epilepsy, and there is a need to implement public education campaigns. (C) 2007 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.