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Keywords:

  • adolescent;
  • educational intervention;
  • epilepsy;
  • psychosocial outcome

Aim:  Patients frequently have poor knowledge of epilepsy, and this is associated with low self-esteem in adolescence. There is a paucity of data determining whether education alone can improve psychosocial outcome. The study investigated whether an educational intervention in adolescence:

  • 1
    Increased understanding of epilepsy syndrome and general epilepsy knowledge.
  • 2
    Improved self-esteem, seizure self-efficacy and attitudes towards epilepsy.

Methods:  In session 1, adolescents were educated about their epilepsy syndrome in a one-on-one session, producing a personalised epilepsy medical record. In session 2, the impact of epilepsy on life-style was discussed. Pre- and post-intervention measures of knowledge, self-esteem, seizure self-efficacy and attitudes towards epilepsy were completed using validated scales. Focus groups explored the intervention's value.

Results:  Thirty adolescents with epilepsy participated (female: 24, male: 6; median age: 16 years; partial symptomatic epilepsy: 15, generalised idiopathic epilepsy: 15). Self-knowledge of syndrome (P < 0.0001), general knowledge of epilepsy (P < 0.0001), attitudes towards epilepsy (P= 0.008) and seizure self-efficacy (P= 0.049) improved. Focus group data indicated that sessions were enjoyable and valuable, and the medical record was helpful.

Conclusions:  The intervention significantly improved self-knowledge and general knowledge of epilepsy, attitudes towards epilepsy and seizure self-efficacy. This is the first study to demonstrate a positive impact on psychosocial outcomes following an educational intervention without a psychological component. The model has widespread application.