The study examined the role of mood and illness perceptions in explaining the variance in the memory complaints of patients with epilepsy.
Method: Forty-four patients from an outpatient tertiary care center and 43 volunteer controls completed a formal assessment of memory and a verbal fluency test, as well as validated self-report questionnaires on memory complaints, mood, and illness perceptions.
Results: In hierarchical multiple regression analyses, objective memory test performance and verbal fluency did not contribute significantly to the variance in memory complaints for either patients or controls. In patients, illness perceptions and mood were highly correlated. Illness perceptions correlated more highly with memory complaints than mood and were therefore added to the multiple regression analysis. This accounted for an additional 25% of the variance, after controlling for objective memory test performance and verbal fluency, and the model was significant (model B). In order to compare with other studies, mood was added to a second model, instead of illness perceptions. This accounted for an additional 24% of the variance, which was again significant (model C). In controls, low mood accounted for 11% of the variance in memory complaints (model C2).
Summary: A measure of illness perceptions was more highly correlated with the memory complaints of patients with epilepsy than with a measure of mood. In a hierarchical multiple regression model, illness perceptions accounted for 25% of the variance in memory complaints. Illness perceptions could provide useful information in a clinical investigation into the self-reported memory complaints of patients with epilepsy, alongside the assessment of mood and formal memory testing.
Keywords: Epilepsy; Illness perceptions; Memory complaints; Mood; Subjective memory impairment.
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