What does the general public in the UK know about the risk to a developing foetus if exposed to alcohol in pregnancy? Findings from a UK mixed methodology study

R. Mukherjee*, E. Wray, S. Hollins, L. Curfs

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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Introduction Foetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASD) are a set of preventable conditions where the foetus is exposed to alcohol in utero and as a result suffers adverse consequences. To develop a public health strategy related to FASD, it is important to first establish what is known by the public about this condition. This study aimed to assess the current level of knowledge about FASD in the UK general population. MethodsA mixed methodology study was conducted using a 17-item questionnaire and focus group sessions. Four focus groups were held with an average of 10 people in each group. Semi-structured questions and thematic analysis of interviews alongside quantitative analysis of the questionnaire data was completed. The research was approved by an National Health service (NHS) research ethical committee. ResultsA total of 674 people responded to the questionnaire and a majority (86.7%) had heard about FASD, with most receiving their information from the media (26.2%) or from their work (27.7%). Four broad themes emerged. Overall these were: a general lack of knowledge about the subject; information about the subject needed to be personally relevant; there was a need for further education; and there was a lack of clarity in the current guidance on alcohol use in pregnancy. Discussion and conclusionsCurrently there appears to be a superficial level of knowledge about FASD in the UK general public. More detailed work in subgroups, such as young women, to identify their specific needs may be necessary before targeted public health and educational interventions can be developed to meet the needs of the general public.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)467-474
JournalChild Care Health and Development
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - May 2015


  • FAS
  • FASD
  • knowledge
  • public

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