Impact of epilepsy in adolescence: a UK controlled study

Epilepsy Behav. 2005 Jun;6(4):556-62. doi: 10.1016/j.yebeh.2005.03.011.


Purpose: The goals of the work described here were to investigate the psychological and social impact of epilepsy on adolescents and to identify to what degree clinical and demographic variables and knowledge of epilepsy could influence psychosocial functioning.

Methods: Seventy adolescents with epilepsy were compared with healthy controls (matched for age, sex, and reading ability) on measures of self-esteem, social adjustment, depression, and obsession. Within the epilepsy group, the impact of seizure frequency, seizure severity, and knowledge of epilepsy on the above measures was also determined.

Results: Adolescents with epilepsy showed significantly higher levels of depression, anhedonia, and social anxiety and significantly higher numbers of obsessive symptoms than the adolescents without epilepsy. Among the adolescents with epilepsy, high seizure frequency was significantly associated with low self-esteem, and tonic-clonic seizures were specifically associated with higher levels of depression. Finally, low levels of epilepsy knowledge were significantly associated with higher levels of depression, lower levels of self-esteem, and higher levels of social anxiety.

Conclusions: Epilepsy has a significant psychosocial impact on adolescents at this difficult time of life. Social support and access to appropriate information about epilepsy could be of help.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Chi-Square Distribution
  • Demography
  • Depression / epidemiology
  • Depression / etiology
  • Epilepsy / epidemiology
  • Epilepsy / physiopathology
  • Epilepsy / psychology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Psychiatric Status Rating Scales / statistics & numerical data
  • Psychological Tests / statistics & numerical data
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Social Behavior*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • United Kingdom / epidemiology