Structured psychiatric interviews were administered to 60 children with complex partial seizure disorder (CPS). 40 children with primary generalized epilepsy with absences (PGE), and 48 control children, aged 5 to 16 years. Significantly more patients with epilepsy had psychiatric diagnoses compared with the control children. There were no statistically significant differences, however, in the number of patients with CPS and PGE with psychiatric diagnoses. Other than a schizophrenia-like psychosis found only in the patients with CPS, the two groups of patients had similar psychiatric diagnoses. The presence of psychopathology was related to significantly lower IQ scores and socioeconomic status, but not to seizure-related factors. These findings suggest that the psychopathology of children with CPS and PGE reflects different subtle neuropsychological deficits.