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Epilepsy Behav. 2013 Dec;29(3):581-4. doi: 10.1016/j.yebeh.2013.09.045. Epub 2013 Oct 26.

The coping styles and health-related quality of life of South African patients with psychogenic nonepileptic seizures.

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Stellenbosch University, Department of Psychology, Wilcocks Building, Victoria Street, Stellenbosch 7130, South Africa. Electronic address:



The primary aim of this study was to explore a possible association between the coping styles and the health-related quality of life (HRQOL) of patients with psychogenic nonepileptic seizures (PNES) in the South African context.


Twenty-two patients with PNESs with confirmatory video-EEG were matched by age and gender with a healthy control group. Participants had to complete self-reported measures of HRQOL and coping strategies. Data analysis consisted of performing Pearson correlations, analysis of variances, and regression analysis.


The results indicated that the HRQOL scores of the group with PNESs were significantly lower than the HRQOL scores of the healthy control group. The participants with PNESs utilized significantly more escape-avoidance and distancing coping strategies in comparison to the healthy control group. The results also indicated that the avoidance coping strategies utilized by participants with PNESs had a significant negative effect on their HRQOL.


The findings of this study provided greater insight into the coping strategies utilized by participants with PNESs, which have been identified as risk factors in PNESs. This is the first study of this nature of people with PNESs in South Africa.


Conversion; Coping; Health-related quality of life; Nonepileptic seizures; South Africa; Stigma; Stress

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