The goal of this study was to identify assessment tools and associated behavioral domains that differentiate children with psychogenic nonepileptic seizures (PNES) from those with epilepsy. A sample of 24 children with PNES (mean age 14.0 years, 14 female), 24 children with epilepsy (mean age 13.6 years, 13 female), and their parents were recruited from five epilepsy centers in the United States. Participants completed a battery of behavioral questionnaires including somatization, anxiety, and functional disability symptoms. Children with PNES had significantly higher scores on the Childhood Somatization and Functional Disability Inventories, and their parents reported more somatic problems on the Child Behavior Checklist (CBCL). Depression, anxiety, and alexithymia instruments did not differentiate the groups. Measures of somatization and functional disability may be promising tools for differentiating the behavioral profile of PNES from that of epilepsy. Increased somatic awareness and perceived disability emphasize the similarity of PNES to other pediatric somatoform disorders.
2009 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.