Emotional concomitants of childhood epilepsy

Epilepsia. 1982 Dec;23(6):671-81. doi: 10.1111/j.1528-1157.1982.tb05083.x.


On the basis of the distinguishing features of unpredictability, overt manifestation of symptom, and loss of control in epilepsy, a number of hypotheses about possible emotional concomitants of childhood epilepsy are offered. Comparing fifteen epileptic children with groups of diabetic and healthy children, matched for chronological age, sex, mental age, socioeconomic status, and family variables, the following findings emerged. Epileptic children are more likely than their diabetic or healthy peers to attribute control over even successful events in their lives to external sources. The perception of control by powerful others or by unknown factors was especially pronounced with regard to social events. In addition, epileptic children as a group were found to have lower self-concepts (particularly with regard to their popularity) and to be more anxious than their peers. The clinical and research significance of the findings are discussed.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Child
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / psychology
  • Epilepsy / psychology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Internal-External Control
  • Male
  • Peer Group
  • Self Concept
  • Social Behavior