The behavioral and emotional correlates of epilepsy in adolescence: A 7-year follow-up study

David A. Sbarra, Sara E. Rimm-Kaufman, Robert C. Pianta

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

48 Scopus citations


This 7-year follow-up study examined the behavioral and emotional adjustment of 29 adolescents who experienced regular moderate seizures during middle childhood. Compared with national nonreferred norms on Achenbach checklists, both mothers and adolescents reported clinically significant difficulties in multiple areas regardless of current seizure status. Adolescents who currently experience regular seizures (N = 10) reported no differences on psychological outcomes compared with nonseizing counterparts; in contrast, current seizure status was a strong predictor of mother-reported externalizing problems. Hierarchical regression analyses indicated that feelings about having or having had a seizure disorder and mother-adolescent relationship factors were significant predictors of current adjustment over and above current seizure status. Early mother-child relationship process variables and early medical risk were not associated with current adolescent outcomes. The findings are discussed in terms of the multidetermined nature of psychological adjustment to chronic medical illness and factors that may produce versus maintain behavioral and emotional problems in children and adolescents with seizure disorders.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)358-367
Number of pages10
JournalEpilepsy and Behavior
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 2002


  • Adolescence
  • Epilepsy
  • Psychopathology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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