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Pediatr Neurol. 2008 May;38(5):335-9. doi: 10.1016/j.pediatrneurol.2008.01.011.

Self-concept in adolescents with epilepsy: biological and social correlates.

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  • 1Faculty of Medicine, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.


The purposes of this study were to (1) compare self-esteem in teens with epilepsy to the normative mean, and (2) identify which neurologic/epilepsy and social/familial variables are associated with self-esteem. Thirty-seven adolescents (aged 12-18 years) attending a pediatric neurology clinic completed the Piers-Harris 2 Self-Concept Scale, Family Assessment Measure III, Child Attitude to Illness Scale, and a brief questionnaire about current seizure status (frequency, severity, and number of antiepileptic drugs). Neurology clinic charts were reviewed for seizure types, etiology, age at diagnosis, and number of failed therapies. While Total Piers-Harris t score and most subscales did not differ significantly from the normative mean, teens with epilepsy had higher scores on Behavioral Adjustment (P < 0.04) and Physical Appearance and Attributes (P < 0.03). On univariate analysis, number of current antiepileptic drugs (P < 0.05) and Attitude to Illness and Family Function scores (P < 0.02 for both) were significantly associated with self-esteem. On linear regression analysis, only the Family Function score (P < 0.02) and number of antiepileptic drugs (P < 0.05) were associated with total self-concept. We conclude that self-concept in teens with epilepsy is most strongly associated with Family Function. With the exception of current number of antiepileptic drugs used, epilepsy-specific factors are of minimal importance.

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