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Keywords:

  • Childhood epilepsy;
  • Psychopathology;
  • Parent;
  • child relationship quality;
  • Parental characteristics;
  • Family relationships;
  • Mediator

Summary: Purpose: To examine the contribution of epilepsy-related factors, proximal (parent–child relationship quality), distal (parental characteristics), and contextual (quality of other family relationships) family factors to psychopathology (both broad-band and narrow-band syndromes) in children with epilepsy and normal intelligence.

Methods: Parents of 91 children (mean, 8.5 years) participated by filling out questionnaires about family factors and child psychopathology. Regression analyses were used to analyze the unique and combined predictive power of family factors in relation to psychopathology.

Results: In contrast to epilepsy-related factors, family factors, especially those related to the quality of the parent–child relationship, appeared to be strong predictors of psychopathology. The results supported the mediational model: Distal and contextual factors affect child psychopathology by affecting proximal factors.

Conclusions: In treating children with epilepsy, clinicians should be aware of the importance of the parent–child relationship quality. Strengthening the relationship quality may prevent or reduce psychopathology.