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Title: Factors predictive of emotional and behavioural difficulties in children with refractory focal epilepsy
Author: Sarri, Margarita
Awarding Body: Royal Holloway, University of London
Current Institution: Royal Holloway, University of London
Date of Award: 2014
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Focal epilepsy in childhood is associated with increased risk for developing behavioral, emotional, cognitive and social–adaptive impairments. The present thesis focused on mental health difficulties in paediatric refractory focal epilepsy. It undertook a detailed evaluation of the predictive power of several demographic (gender, age at assessment), clinical (age at onset and duration of epilepsy, seizure frequency), localization (lobe and lateralization of pathology) and cognitive variables (performance in intellectual, memory and academic attainment measures) for mood, conduct, inattention/hyperactivity and peer relationship difficulties, as assessed by parental report. Data from a population of 282 children and adolescents, previously collected for clinical purposes, were examined, using a series of univariate and multivariate analyses. Mental health difficulties were found to be highly prevalent, with peer relationships the most frequently reported area of difficulty, followed by inattention/hyperactivity and emotional difficulties. Different patterns of associations between the variables examined here and individual emotional/behavioural difficulties were revealed, partially confirming and extending previous findings in the literature. Longer duration of epilepsy was found to increase the risk for developing emotional difficulties; male gender and earlier age at onset the risk for conduct difficulties; male gender, earlier age at onset, longer duration and frontal lobe localization the risk for attention/hyperactivity difficulties; and finally longer duration, higher seizure frequency and right hemisphere lateralization the risk for peer difficulties. Lower cognitive functioning was found associated with overall increased mental health difficulties and a lower VIQ was predictive of all types of difficulties. Developing a firm understanding of the risk factors that contribute to mental health comorbidities in focal paediatric epilepsy can help identify and provide assessment and intervention to children who are at higher risk earlier, thus significantly improving quality of life.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: emotional difficulties ; behavioural difficulties ; children ; refractory focal epilepsy ; mental health ; difficulties