Graduation Year

2008

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree

Ph.D.

Degree Granting Department

Psychological and Social Foundations

Major Professor

Kathy L. Bradley-Klug, Ph.D.

Keywords

Seizure disorders, Depression, Anxiety, Canonical correlation, Neurologist

Abstract

Psychopathology typically is a lasting condition that is persistent from childhood to adulthood. Therefore, it is imperative that children with health conditions and comorbid psychiatric disorders are treated for both conditions as they are likely to have a significant negative impact on children's overall health-related quality of life (HRQL). More specifically, it is important to identify the variables that affect HRQL in children with epilepsy. Research has shown that biomedical variables such as seizure severity and frequency have only moderate relationships with HRQL; therefore, additional factors, such as depression and anxiety, must be identified so that they also may be a focus of treatment. The purpose of this study was to ascertain the relationship among seizure-related variables, health-related quality of life, and psychopathology (i.e., anxiety and depression) in children with epilepsy (n = 51). The seizure-related variables examined in this study include type of seizure, seizure frequency, and seizure treatment with anti-epileptic drugs (AEDs). Canonical correlation analyses indicated that self-report and parent report of anxiety and depression were most strongly correlated with HRQL. Additionally, seizure frequency and number of anti-epileptic drugs also were correlated with HRQL. It is hoped that results from this study will inform both the medical and psychosocial treatment children with epilepsy receive. This comprehensive care needs to go beyond simply attempting to control seizures with minimal adverse drug reactions. Results from this study will contribute to the literature underscoring the importance of identifying, diagnosing, and treating children with epilepsy who have comorbid psychopathology so that they have the best possible psychosocial outcomes.

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