Predictors of health-related quality of life in patients with epilepsy and psychogenic nonepileptic seizures

Epilepsy Behav. 2017 Mar:68:153-158. doi: 10.1016/j.yebeh.2016.10.035. Epub 2017 Feb 9.


Epilepsy and psychogenic nonepileptic seizures (PNES) are associated with reduced health-related quality of life (HRQoL). The present study investigated the profile, relationship, and predictive power of illness perceptions, psychological distress (depression and anxiety), seizure activity, and demographic factors on HRQoL in these patient groups. Patients with epilepsy (n=62) and PNES (n=45) were recruited from a United Kingdom hospital and from membership-led organizations for individuals living with seizures. Patients completed a series of self-report questionnaires assessing: anxiety (GAD-7), depression (NDDI-E), illness perceptions (B-IPQ), HRQoL (NEWQOL-6D), and seizure frequency and severity (LSSS-3). Correlational and hierarchical multiple regression analyses were conducted. Patients with epilepsy reported higher HRQoL and scored lower on measures of depression and anxiety. Patients with PNES perceived their condition as more threatening overall. In both conditions, HRQoL was negatively correlated with more severe illness perceptions and psychological distress. In epilepsy and PNES, psychological distress (epilepsy: 27%; PNES: 24.8%) and illness perceptions (epilepsy: 23.1%; PNES: 23.3%) accounted for the largest amount of variance in HRQoL. Clinical factors were found not to be significant predictors, while demographic factors predicted HRQoL in epilepsy (12.6%), but not in PNES. Our findings support the notion that psychological factors are a stronger predictor of HRQoL in epilepsy and PNES than condition-related and demographic variables. Prior research suggests that anxiety and depression are key predictors of HRQoL; this study demonstrates that the relationship between illness perceptions and HRQoL is similarly close. These findings highlight the importance of addressing patients' beliefs about their condition.

Keywords: Dissociative seizures; Epilepsy; Illness perceptions; Nonepileptic attack disorder; Psychogenic nonepileptic seizures; Quality of life.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Epilepsy / psychology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Psychophysiologic Disorders / psychology*
  • Quality of Life / psychology*
  • Seizures / psychology*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • United Kingdom