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Keywords:

  • Epilepsy;
  • Treatment outcome;
  • Child;
  • Social adjustment;
  • Young adults;
  • Epilepsy surgery

Summary

Purpose: The purpose of this study was to examine the social relationships and participation in educational, vocational, and community life in young adults who had undergone epilepsy surgery during childhood or adolescence.

Methods: This was a retrospective, cross-sectional, case-controlled, and multisite design study. Findings were compared between young adults who had undergone epilepsy surgery and were seizure-free in the previous 12 months (n = 38), those who had undergone epilepsy surgery and were not seizure-free (n = 33), and a group of individuals with epilepsy who had not undergone surgery (n = 31).

Results: The surgical seizure-free group had significantly better general social well-being than the other two groups. Specifically, these participants were employed for more months over the past year, were less likely to report that epilepsy had affected their employment, and were more likely to belong to at least one community organization. However, these participants were not any more likely to be involved in a relationship than those in the other two groups. In addition, there were no group differences in the reported number of friends or the frequency of visits with friends, or in what participants described as their principal activity (i.e., student, employed or unemployed).

Discussion: There are a number of benefits to social functioning associated with having had epilepsy surgery and being seizure-free in the past year. Further research is recommended to increase our understanding of the mechanisms involved in the social and personal challenges that these individuals face.