Predicting quality of life in epilepsy: implications for psychological strategies for seizure management

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Towson University. Department of Psychology


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Epilepsy is a neurological disorder marked by recurrent seizure activity. This disorder occurs in approximately 1% of Americans (Centers for Disease Control, 2008). Quality of life (QOL) remains to be an issue for this population. Individuals with epilepsy are approximately three times more likely to commit suicide than the general public. Despite an abundance of research investigating predictors of QOL in this population a number of limitations must be acknowledged. The following study examined research on seizure awareness, perception of control, spontaneous management strategies, depression and anxiety for their ability to predict QOL in individuals with epilepsy. A number of established measures were adapted to create a battery of assessments that can assist clinicians working with individuals with epilepsy. Results of the present study suggest this battery is a significant predictor of QOL among individuals with epilepsy. PATH analysis was used to explore the interrelationships between these psychosocial variables and QOL. Additionally, this study provides that first explicit support of a negative correlation between QOL and suicide risk. The proposed model to predict QOL is used to predict suicide risk. The results of this study provide insight into the recent development of self-management programs geared towards teaching individuals with epilepsy to use cognitive, behavioral and emotional strategies to decrease seizure activity and psychological symptoms.