Send to

Choose Destination
Epilepsia. 2004 Oct;45(10):1261-72.

Neuropsychological predictors of academic underachievement in pediatric epilepsy: moderating roles of demographic, seizure, and psychosocial variables.

Author information

Department of Psychology, Purdue School of Science, Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis, Indianapolis, Indiana, USA.



Academic underachievement is common in pediatric epilepsy. Attempts to identify seizure and psychosocial risk factors for underachievement have yielded inconsistent findings, raising the possibility that seizure and psychosocial variables play a complex role in combination with other variables such as neuropsychological functioning. This study cross-validated a neuropsychological measurement model for childhood epilepsy, examined the relation between neuropsychological functioning and academic achievement, and tested the degree to which demographic, seizure, and psychosocial variables moderate that relation.


Children with chronic epilepsy (N = 173; ages 8 to 15 years; 49% girls; 91% white/non-Hispanic; 79% one seizure type; 79% taking one medication; 69% with active seizures) completed a comprehensive neuropsychological battery. Children diagnosed with mental retardation were excluded.


Structural equation modeling identified a three-factor measurement model of neuropsychological function: Verbal/Memory/Executive (VME), Rapid Naming/Working Memory (RN/WM), and Psychomotor (PM). VME and RN/WM were strongly related to reading, math, and writing; PM predicted writing only. Family environment moderated the impact of neuropsychological deficits on writing (p < or = 0.01) and possibly for reading (p = 0.05); neuropsychological deficits had a smaller impact on achievement for children in supportive/organized homes compared with children in unsupportive/disorganized homes.


These findings lend partial support for our theoretical model showing direct effects of neuropsychological function on achievement and the moderating role of family factors. This study suggests that a subgroup of children with epilepsy (those who have not only neuropsychological deficits but also disorganized/unsupportive home environments) are particularly at risk for adverse academic outcomes. Implications for intervention are discussed.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Wiley Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center