Prevalence of psychopathology in childhood epilepsy: categorical and dimensional measures

Dev Med Child Neurol. 2009 May;51(5):364-72. doi: 10.1111/j.1469-8749.2008.03172.x. Epub 2009 Nov 19.


Few studies have utilized both categorical and dimensional measures of psychopathology in children with epilepsy. We evaluated 173 children (88 males, 85 females; mean age 11.7y [SD 1.8]; range 9-14y) who had epilepsy (generalized 36%, partial 61%) for at least 6 months. The primary caregiver completed a dimensional measure, the Child Behavior Checklist (CBCL), and a categorical measure, either the Child Symptom Inventory (CSI) or the Adolescent Symptom Inventory (ASI). Correlation coefficients were computed between the CBCL scores and CSI/ASI symptom scores. For all children, diagnostic risk was higher than norms on CSI/ASI for attention-deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) inattentive type, ADHD combined type, oppositional defiant disorder, and dysthymic disorder. For children between 9 and 12 years, elevated scores were found on CBCL, total, internalizing, and attention problems, and on CSI, diagnostic risk for conduct disorder and Asperger syndrome. For children of 13 and 14 years, ASI diagnostic risk was higher for specific phobia, obsessions, posttraumatic stress disorder, motor tics, antisocial personality, panic attack, somatization disorder, and enuresis. CBCL and symptom scores on the CSI/ASI were significantly correlated. The conclusion was that children with epilepsy have high rates of behavioral difficulties on both dimensional and categorical measures. Concurrent validity for the CSI/ASI was supported.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Antisocial Personality Disorder / diagnosis
  • Antisocial Personality Disorder / epidemiology
  • Asperger Syndrome / diagnosis
  • Asperger Syndrome / epidemiology
  • Attention Deficit Disorder with Hyperactivity / diagnosis
  • Attention Deficit Disorder with Hyperactivity / epidemiology
  • Caregivers
  • Child
  • Child Behavior Disorders / diagnosis
  • Child Behavior Disorders / epidemiology
  • Dysthymic Disorder / diagnosis
  • Dysthymic Disorder / epidemiology
  • Enuresis / epidemiology
  • Epilepsy / complications
  • Epilepsy / psychology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mental Disorders / diagnosis*
  • Mental Disorders / epidemiology*
  • Mental Disorders / etiology
  • Obsessive Behavior / diagnosis
  • Obsessive Behavior / epidemiology
  • Phobic Disorders / diagnosis
  • Phobic Disorders / epidemiology
  • Prevalence
  • Psychiatric Status Rating Scales
  • Research Design
  • Somatoform Disorders / diagnosis
  • Somatoform Disorders / epidemiology
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic / diagnosis
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic / epidemiology
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Tics / diagnosis
  • Tics / epidemiology