Purpose: We compared quality of life (QOL) in youth with inactive or active epilepsy with that of a similar sample of youth with asthma. We explored 19 different dimensions in three domains (psychological, social, and school) and also determined differences related to illness severity and gender.
Methods: Subjects were 228 adolescents (117 with epilepsy and 111 with asthma). Data were collected from clinic records and from the adolescents, their mothers, and their teachers through questionnaires and structured interviews. Data were analyzed by analysis of covariance.
Results: The analysis with all 19 QOL variables indicated a significant difference between the total asthma and the total epilepsy samples (multivariate F = 3.36, p = 0.0001). Further evaluation reflected differences between the epilepsy group and the asthma group on 13 of the 19 QOL variables. When active and inactive epilepsy and asthma groups were compared, youth with active epilepsy were faring worse than all other groups in 10 areas. Moreover, youth with inactive epilepsy were faring worse than those with inactive asthma in four areas. Illness severity and sex differences were more strongly related to QOL in the epilepsy sample than in the asthma sample. Sex-severity interactions suggested that girls with high seizure severity were most at risk for QOL problems.
Conclusions: Youth with active epilepsy generally had the poorest QOL. Severe seizures and female sex were associated with more problems. Sex-severity interactions should be explored in future research.