Purpose: People with non-epileptic seizures (NES) consistently report poorer Health-Related Quality of Life (HRQoL) than people with epilepsy. Yet, unlike in epilepsy, knowledge of how social factors influence the HRQoL of adults with NES is limited. To add to the evidence base, this study explores the relationship between HRQoL and perceived stigma among adults with NES, and the role of socio-demographic characteristics.
Methods: Data was gathered from a survey of 115 people living with the condition, recruited from online support groups. Participants provided socio-demographic and health-related data and completed a series of questions investigating their HRQoL (QOLIE-31) and stigma perceptions (10-item Epilepsy Stigma Scale).
Results: Participants were found to experience high levels of perceived stigma (median 5.2, mean 4.9). A significant and moderate inverse correlation was observed between HRQoL and stigma (rs - 0.474, p = < 0.001); suggesting higher perceptions of stigma contribute to poorer HRQoL among adults with NES. Stigma perceptions were found to be most strongly associated with the seizure worry (rs = - 0.479), emotional wellbeing (rs = - 0.421), and social functioning (rs = 0.407) HRQoL domains. Participants who reported being in employment or education were found to have significantly better HRQoL than those who were not (p = < 0.001).
Conclusion: More (qualitative and quantitative) research is justified to understand how - and why - those with the condition experience stigmatisation, and the factors that impede and help facilitate the participation of people with NES in education and employment.
Keywords: Non-epileptic attack disorder; Psychogenic non-epileptic seizures; Quality of life; Socio-demographic factors; Stigma.
Copyright © 2018. Published by Elsevier Ltd.