A population-based study of the prevalence and sociodemographic risk factors of self-reported epilepsy among adults in the United Kingdom

Seizure. 2011 Dec;20(10):784-8. doi: 10.1016/j.seizure.2011.07.011. Epub 2011 Aug 19.


Background: Few studies have investigated the prevalence of self-reported epilepsy among adults in the United Kingdom and none has focused on identifying risk factors associated with epilepsy.

Methods: Data were obtained from the 2009 British Household Panel Survey, a population-based cohort study of adults ≥ 16 years of age residing in the United Kingdom (n=14,419). Cases were ascertained by identifying individuals who responded "yes" to having epilepsy. Prevalence rates were age- and sex-adjusted using mid-2009 population data and 95% confidence intervals (CI) were calculated. Logistic regression identified risk factors for self-reported epilepsy.

Results: A total of 112 individuals reported having epilepsy, resulting in a point prevalence of 8.6 per 1000 (95% CI: 6.6, 10.5). There were no differences in prevalence rates across strata of age, sex, marital status, employment status, employment satisfaction, academic or vocational qualifications, and socioeconomic status. Among males, the prevalence rate for the >75 age group was significantly lower compared to the 30-44 (p=0.0243) and 45-59 age groups (p=0.0099). Individuals who were younger OR=0.91 (0.85, 0.98), not married OR=0.80 (0.67, 0.95), had less education OR=0.84 (0.74, 0.95), were less satisfied with their employment OR=0.66 (0.57, 0.77), and had lower income OR=0.87 (0.78, 0.98) were more likely to have epilepsy.

Conclusions: The prevalence rates reported are similar to those described previously. The rationale for observing these specific risk factors for self-reported epilepsy are discussed in terms of public attitudes and stigma associated with epilepsy.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age Distribution
  • Aged
  • Demography
  • Epilepsy / epidemiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prevalence
  • Risk Factors
  • Self Report
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • United Kingdom / epidemiology
  • Young Adult