Marital status in patients with functional (psychogenic nonepileptic) seizures: An international study

Epilepsy Behav. 2020 Nov:112:107461. doi: 10.1016/j.yebeh.2020.107461. Epub 2020 Sep 17.


Purpose: The study aimed to investigate the marital status in a cohort of patients with functional seizures from seven countries in four continents. Factors associated with marital status were also explored.

Methods: Adult patients with functional seizures who were admitted to the epilepsy monitoring units at centers in Iran, Qatar, USA, France, Georgia, Egypt, and United Arab Emirates (UAE) were retrospectively identified. Marital status was assessed in the whole cohort.

Results: Four hundred thirty-two patients were included (241 from Iran, 52 from France, 48 from Qatar, 41 from the USA, 19 from UAE, 18 from Egypt, and 13 from Georgia); 302 were women and 130 were men. One hundred fifty (35%) subjects were single, 245 (57%) were married, and 37 (8%) were separated (31 divorced, 7%; 6 widowed, 1%). Auras with functional seizures were less frequently reported by single people in comparison with that by married patients (54% vs. 61%) [odds ratio (OR) = 0.58]. Separated people compared with those who were married less often had auras with their functional seizures (27% vs. 61%; OR = 0.26) and more often reported a history of sexual abuse (49% vs. 12%; OR = 6.14).

Conclusion: The marital status has significant associations with the semiology of functional seizures. A history of sexual abuse is significantly associated with being separated and should be inquired and tackled appropriately during the management process of patients with functional seizures.

Keywords: Abuse; Functional; Marriage; Psychogenic; Seizure.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Egypt
  • Female
  • France / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Iran
  • Male
  • Marital Status
  • Qatar
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Seizures* / epidemiology
  • United Arab Emirates