Article published by AJMC
Adolescents with epilepsy (AWE) commonly experience emotional and behavioral problems, which vary depending on demographic, clinical, and parental factors, according to a study published in Epilepsy & Behavior from the Korean Quality of Life in Epilepsy Study Group. The parental factors included how they perceived others treated their child.
Due to these findings, the study authors emphasized it is crucial to identify and properly manage these problems early to decrease comorbid psychopathology in AWE.
The cross-sectional multicenter study included 289 adolescents—180 boys and 109 girls—aged between 11 and 18 years, with a mean (SD) age of 15.4 (1.9) years.
The authors explained that psychopathology among this group was evaluated using the Youth Self-Report scale, consisting of 8 narrowband and 3 broadband syndrome scales, and the raw score and T-score of each syndrome scale was analyzed.
The study found 18.3% of AWE had at least 1 emotional or behavioral problem in the clinical range.
Social problems were most common (10.0%), followed by attention problems (6.9%) and aggressive behaviors (4.2%), and externalizing problems (11.8%) were twice as common as internalizing problems (6.2%).
Consistent with findings of prior studies, this study showed 1 in 4 parents of AWE said they perceived that other people felt uncomfortable with their child, treated their child as inferior, or preferred to avoid their child because of their epilepsy.
“Adolescents whose parents perceived stigma had higher levels of all types of emotional and behavioral problems, except for withdrawal and anxiety/depression than those whose parents perceived no stigma,” the authors explained further. “Specifically, these adolescents were more likely to have externalizing problems and social problems.”