Academic journal article Journal of Psychosocial Research

Epilepsy and the Child-Parental Coping and Children's Attitude

Academic journal article Journal of Psychosocial Research

Epilepsy and the Child-Parental Coping and Children's Attitude

Article excerpt


Epilepsy is the most common neurological problem of childhood, and its incidence is highest in the first decade of life, a period during which children begin a critical part of their social and educational development. Children with epilepsy are at considerable risk of developing psychopathology. Studies indicate under-detection and under- treatment of psychosocial problems in this group. Children are much more vulnerable and susceptible to the adverse effects of any stressful situation; therefore it is not difficult to gauge the extent to which a chronic illness like epilepsy can hamper their emotional and psychological well being.

Epilepsy impacts the entire family and may have a significant effect on the interrelationships between child and parent as well as academic functioning. Early assessment for psychosocial problems and appropriate interventions can be beneficial for the child and family. A better understanding of the degree of satisfaction of the lives of people with epilepsy is necessary for clinicians to better help them to lead more fulfilling lives (Ashwin, et al., 2013, Rodenburg, Wagner, Austin, Kerr and Dunn, 2011).

Developmental scientists have time and again pointed out the critical role that parents and other family members play in shaping the thoughts, perceptions and attitudes of the child about his own self and the world at large. Henceforth a child who is disadvantaged by the presence of a chronic illness like epilepsy needs much more support, care and attention from the parents and family members.

The presence of anxiety, lack of primary education, low per capita income and having a seizure episode in the past year are associated with lower quality of life among people with epilepsy (Rakesh, et al., 2012). However, the present day treatment primarily focuses on drug therapy. The need to adopt holistic treatment strategies that adequately address the psychological impact of epilepsy on the individual and the family is urgent.

In India, there is paucity of researches that focus on epilepsy and its impact on the child. It is essential to understand the pathway, to care for epilepsy patients in a community and to be able to target appropriate services to them (Kathiresan, Sinha and Patro, 2013). Even though the role of parents in shaping the attitude of their child towards his condition is accepted and understood yet it has not been researched much. This study thus, is a small effort to study the way parental coping with the epilepsy in their children affects the kind of attitude children develop towards the disease.


The sample for the study comprised of 24 children attending Neurology Out Patient Department at Jaipur Golden Hospital, Rohini New Delhi, India. There were an equal number of girls and boys with mixed socio-economic background between the ages 7-10 years, with a mean age of 8.42 years. The children were divided into two equal groups for the study on the basis of the severity of their condition- Controlled Epilepsy (no seizure in the past 6 months) and Uncontrolled Epilepsy.

In the present study, both quantitative and qualitative data was collected. The quantitative analysis consisted of administering the two questionnaires to the participants and their parents. Qualitative data was obtained by interviewing the participants and their parents.

The questionnaires used were:

^ The Children's Attitude Towards Illness Scale (CATIS) - Seizure form by Austin (1993)

The CATIS is a short self-report instrument designed to provide a systematic assessment of how favorably or unfavorably children feel about having a chronic physical condition.

^ The Ways of Coping Questionnaire- Folkman and Lazarus (1988)

The Ways of Coping questionnaire is a 66 item self report instrument designed to identify the thoughts and actions an individual has used to cope with a specific stressful encounter. The test measures the coping process of the individual rather than the coping dispositions or styles. …

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