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Pediatr Neurol. 2008 Dec;39(6):418-22. doi: 10.1016/j.pediatrneurol.2008.08.007.

Maternal depression: the cost of caring for a child with intractable epilepsy.

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


The aims of this study were to: (1) determine the prevalence of depression and sleep disruption in mothers of children with intractable epilepsy, and (2) assess which family factors and neurologic/behavioral characteristics of a child with epilepsy correlate with maternal depression. Mothers of children aged 2-18 years with intractable epilepsy completed a Beck Depression Inventory and Pittsburgh Sleep Questionnaire for themselves, and a Child Behavior Checklist, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder Rating Scale, and Scale of Independent Behavior-Revised for their child. Charts were reviewed for age at seizure onset, seizure frequency and type, number of failed treatments, and presence of autism. Mothers were queried regarding family type, educational level, income, and number of children in the home. Fifty-two of 80 (65%) eligible mothers returned completed questionnaires. Forty-five percent demonstrated elevated scores on the depression questionnaire, with 25% in the moderate/severely depressed range. Sleep disruption was reported in 67%. Maternal depression correlated with high attention deficit and problem behaviors in children, but not with most epilepsy-related variables, autism, adaptive delay, or family income.

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