Children's perspective of quality of life in epilepsy

Neurology. 2015 May 5;84(18):1830-7. doi: 10.1212/WNL.0000000000001536. Epub 2015 Apr 3.


Objective: To study child mental health, parental support, and social support of children with epilepsy as these relate to quality of life (QOL) using child self-report, seizure-related variables, and estimated verbal intelligence based on receptive vocabulary.

Methods: A cross-sectional structural equation model of baseline data from the QUALITÉ cohort study, which includes 6 Canadian child epilepsy ambulatory programs. A sample of 3,481 children were screened for the following eligibility: 8 to 14 years of age, with active or medication-managed epilepsy. Of 894 eligible children, 506 agreed to participate, of whom 26 were then excluded because of an inability to self-report based on a standard cutoff score of receptive vocabulary lower than 70. The primary outcome of child-reported QOL was measured using the Child Epilepsy QOL Questionnaire.

Results: From the child's perspective, epilepsy-specific QOL is strongly related to their mental health and social support but not to their seizures. Specifically, child mental health and peer support exhibit direct associations with QOL; parental support has both direct and indirect associations with QOL (via child mental health); estimated verbal intelligence exerts its strongest association with QOL through mental health; and seizure status exhibits a weak relationship to QOL only through mental health.

Conclusions: Among children with epilepsy aged 8 to 14 years, mental health and social support should be areas of focus in the assessment of QOL. Controlling seizures is insufficient care for influencing the child's perception of their life.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • Cohort Studies
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Epilepsy / psychology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Intelligence*
  • Language Tests
  • Male
  • Parents*
  • Peer Group*
  • Quality of Life / psychology*
  • Self Report
  • Social Support*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires