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Keywords:

  • Theory of mind;
  • Epilepsy;
  • Psychobehavioral disturbances;
  • Coping;
  • Cognitive self-evaluation;
  • Quality of life

Summary

Purpose

Epilepsy can impair theory of mind (ToM), but the clinical significance of such a deficit is unknown. This study evaluated the influence of selective ToM deficits on self-appraisal, coping, and quality of life (QoL) in patients with focal epilepsy.

Methods

Data were collected from 66 patients with temporal or frontal lobe epilepsy, and from 42 healthy controls. The Faux Pas Task (FPT), Multiple Ability Self-report Questionnaire (MASQ), Coping Responses Inventory-Adult (CRI-Adult), and World Health Organization QoL 100 (WHOQoL 100) evaluated ToM, self-rated cognitive abilities, coping to stressful events, and QoL. Different tests and inventories assessed other cognitive functions, depression, and anxiety.

Key Findings

Patients were impaired in the recognition and comprehension of social faux pas. The FPT scores contributed to predict the MASQ, CRI-Adult, and WHOQoL overall scores; the comprehension of others' mental states and interactions score exerted a prominent influence.

Significance

In patients with focal epilepsy, selective ToM deficits may have clinical implications, with specific influence on self-appraisal, coping, and overall QoL. ToM evaluation may contribute in explaining some psychobehavioral difficulties and to plan nonpharmacological treatment.