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The Family Experience of “Sudden Health”: The Case of Intractable Epilepsy


  • We thank Michel Berg, M.D., Richard Frankel, Ph.D., John Langfitt, Ph.D., Susan H. McDaniel, Ph.D., and Lyman C. Wynne, M.D., Ph.D. for their help in the preparation of this article.


This article reports the experience of “sudden health” among six families who participated in an exploratory qualitative study of families with a member who elects to have corrective surgery for intractable epilepsy. Families were interviewed pre- and post surgery (6–8months) and the interviews were analyzed using a constant comparative methodology. Findings indicated that (1) families were organized in two primary ways (nesting and crisis) to deal with epilepsy and the aftermath of surgery and (2) “sudden health” had differing effects on these families depending on their organizational style, emotional communication process, and developmental dynamics.