Abstract, published in Epilepsy and Behavior
Objective: Childhood- and adolescent-onset epilepsy may have a significant impact on long-term educational and vocational status, which in turn has consequences for individuals’ socioeconomic status. This research team estimated the factual long-term socioeconomic consequences and healthcare costs of individuals with diagnosed epilepsy.
Methods: The prospective cohort study included Danish individuals with epilepsy onset before the age of 18 years, diagnosed between 2002 and 2016. Healthcare costs and socioeconomic data were obtained from nationwide administrative and health registers. A total of 15,329 individuals were found with the diagnosis during this period and were followed until the age of 30 years. These were compared with 31,414 controls. The team used 30 years as this represent an age where most have completed their education, and as such, represent the final educational level. Individuals were matched for age, gender, and residential location.
Results: Compared with control groups, patients with epilepsy at the age of 30 years tended to have the following: 1) parents with lower educational attainment; 2) a significantly lower educational level when controlling for parental education attainment; 3) lower grade-point averages; 4) a lower probability of being employed and lower income; and 5) elevated healthcare costs, including those for psychiatric care. It was also noted that the long-term educational consequences for patients with epilepsy were associated with parental educational level. Differences were more pronounced for those with early (0-5 years) rather than later (6-18 years) onset epilepsy.
Conclusions: Epilepsy is associated with severe long-term socioeconomic consequences: lower educational level, school grades, employment status, and earned income. The presence of epilepsy seems to be associated with parental educational level.