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Seizure. 2014 Jan;23(1):25-8. doi: 10.1016/j.seizure.2013.09.005. Epub 2013 Sep 12.

Spirituality aspects in patients with epilepsy.

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Faculty of Medicine, Pontifícia Universidade Católica de Campinas (PUC-Campinas), São Paulo, Brazil.
Faculty of Medicine, Pontifícia Universidade Católica de Campinas (PUC-Campinas), São Paulo, Brazil. Electronic address:



Do epilepsy and spirituality interact? This study aimed to determine whether an easy-to-administer scale, such as the spirituality self-rating scale (SSRS), could detect increased religiousness in people with epilepsy and verify how epilepsy influences spirituality.


A total of 196 consecutive patients with epilepsy (epilepsy group, EG) with a mean age and standard deviation of 46.5 ± 14.8 years and 66 subjects with no history of neurological or other chronic disorders (control group, CG) were assessed by the SSRS and neurologically.


The SSRS scores of the EG and CG did not differ significantly (22.8 ± 5.1 and 22.0 ± 5.7, respectively). Patients with mesial temporal lobe epilepsy with hippocampal sclerosis (MTLE-HS) had significantly higher SSRS scores than those with other epileptic syndromes and, than in individuals of the CG. Multiple regression showed that the factors significantly associated with greater spirituality (greater SSRS score) for the EG, were lower education level, abnormal background EEG activity, and MTLE-HS. Other relationships with the clinical features of epilepsy and with the presence of psychiatric co-morbidity were not found.


The present findings do not confirm a specific role of epilepsy in spirituality or of "epileptic hyperreligiosity," but suggest that spirituality in people with epilepsy is influenced by education level, and may also stem from epilepsy-related factors such as abnormal background EEG activity and the presence of MTLE-HS.


Epilepsy; Religiosity; Spirituality; Spirituality self-rating scale

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