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J Child Neurol. 1997 Apr;12(3):187-92.

Self-esteem, behavior, and concerns surrounding epilepsy in siblings of children with epilepsy.

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  • Minnesota Epilepsy Group, St Paul 55102, USA.


Researchers document the emotional impact of epilepsy on the child with seizures. Minimal data are available examining the effects of epilepsy on the siblings of children with seizures. Twenty children whose siblings had either frequent seizures or infrequent seizures were matched by age, gender, and birth order to control subjects with no chronic illness. These three groups were compared. Self-esteem, behavioral and social functioning, and family stress were measured by the Piers-Harris Self-Concept Scale, Child Behavior Checklist, and Family Inventory of Life Events. The siblings of children with epilepsy completed the Sibling Concern About Seizure Scale to define and measure their concerns surrounding epilepsy. There is no statistical difference in self-esteem or social functioning among the three groups. There is a trend toward increased incidence of externalizing behavior in siblings of children with frequent seizures. Data indicate a trend toward siblings of children with frequent seizures having more concerns about epilepsy than siblings of children with infrequent seizures. There is significantly more stress in families of children with frequent seizures compared to families of children with infrequent seizures and families of children with no chronic illness. Although there were no significant differences in the self-esteem, behavior, socialization, and concerns between the siblings in the family when compared to the control group or to each other, there were trends in the results that may be of clinical significance. These issues, along with the level of family stress, should be considered when coordinating and providing care to families of children with intractable epilepsy.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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