Research Article| Volume 138, 109014, January 2023

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Emotional and behavioral profiles of adolescents with epilepsy: Associations with parental perception of epilepsy-related stigma

Published:December 07, 2022DOI:


      • Of adolescents with epilepsy (AWE), 18.3% had at least one emotional or behavioral problem.
      • Female and older AWE had a higher level of internalizing problems than male and younger AWE.
      • A quarter of parents of AWE felt stigma towards their children with epilepsy.
      • Parental perception of stigma was significantly associated with higher psychopathology in AWE.



      We evaluated self-reported psychopathology in adolescents with epilepsy (AWE) and determined which types of psychopathology were associated with the parental perception of stigma towards AWE.


      This was a cross-sectional, multicenter study of 289 adolescents aged 11 to 18 years. Psychopathology was evaluated using the Youth Self-Report scale, which consists of eight narrowband and three broadband syndrome scales. We analyzed the raw score and T-score of each syndrome scale. The parental perception of stigma was assessed using the modified three-item Epilepsy Stigma Scale.


      Of the 289 AWE (180 boys and 109 girls), 18.3% had at least one emotional or behavioral problem in the clinical range. Social problems were the most common (10.0%), followed by attention problems (6.9%) and aggressive behaviors (4.2%). Externalizing problems (11.8%) were two times more common than internalizing problems (6.2%). Females and older AWE had a higher level of internalizing problems. Social problems were more common in girls (15.6%) than in boys (6.7%), whereas thought problems were more common in boys (3.9%) than in girls (0%). Epilepsy-related factors, especially antiseizure medication polytherapy, were significantly associated with various emotional and behavioral problems. A quarter of parents felt stigma towards their children with epilepsy. Male sex, antiseizure medication polytherapy, and longer duration of epilepsy were more likely to be associated with the parental perception of stigma. Parental perception of stigma was significantly associated with psychopathology in AWE, particularly externalizing problems and social problems.


      Emotional and behavioral problems in AWE are common and vary depending on demographic, clinical, and parental factors. Early identification and proper management of these problems are crucial for decreasing comorbid psychopathology in AWE.


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