The psychological development of children of epileptic parents. I. Study design and comparative findings

Acta Paediatr. 1994 Sep;83(9):955-60. doi: 10.1111/j.1651-2227.1994.tb13180.x.


We studied the genetic, neurobiological, teratogenic and psychosocial risks for the development of children born to epileptic parents in (a) children of epileptic mothers with intrauterine exposure to anticonvulsants, (b) children of epileptic mothers without intrauterine exposure to anticonvulsants and (c) children of epileptic fathers. In addition, three matched control groups were also considered. The longitudinal design of the study covered newborns to children of six years of age. A wide range of developmental and psychological tests and a structured interview for the assessment of psychiatric symptoms were used. It was shown that teratogenic factors are operant, whereas there was no indication that the condition of epilepsy in the parents per se had any effect on the developmental outcome of the children. The possible teratogenic effect of anticonvulsants should be studied in more detail.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Anticonvulsants / adverse effects
  • Anticonvulsants / therapeutic use*
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Developmental Disabilities / diagnosis
  • Developmental Disabilities / etiology*
  • Developmental Disabilities / psychology
  • Epilepsy*
  • Family Health*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Interviews as Topic
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Mental Disorders / diagnosis
  • Mental Disorders / etiology
  • Mental Disorders / psychology
  • Motor Skills
  • Parents*
  • Pregnancy
  • Prenatal Exposure Delayed Effects*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Psychological Tests
  • Psychology, Child*
  • Research Design
  • Risk Factors


  • Anticonvulsants