A model of social-emotional functioning in adolescents with epilepsy

Eavan S Miles-Mason, Fordham University


Psychiatric disorders and behavioral problems are common phenomena among children and adolescents with epilepsy, with studies consistently demonstrating higher prevalence rates when compared to healthy children and those with disorders not involving the central nervous system. The current literature suggests that psychoeducational interventions, designed to improve social-emotional functioning through the provision of information regarding the disorder, is a promising means of intervention. This study proposed a conceptual model explaining the mechanism through which epilepsy information improves social-emotional functioning in adolescents with the disorder. Based on the theoretical and research literature, a model incorporating family mastery (i.e., psychological, social, and financial resources), seizure severity, epilepsy knowledge, and self-efficacy for seizure management (seizure self-efficacy) was created. More specifically, parent seizure self-efficacy mediated the relationship between parent knowledge and adolescent social-emotional functioning. The same meditational relationship was posited between adolescent seizure self-efficacy, adolescent epilepsy knowledge, and social-emotional functioning. Results of the SEM analysis revealed that the proposed model was not supported and did not have adequate goodness-of-fit. Only one variable in the model, adolescent seizure self-efficacy, was a significant predictor of internalizing problems. The non-significant findings may, in part, be attributable to the restricted range of the sample, which was predominantly well-educated and of high socioeconomic status. In addition, due to the reading level required to complete the survey, adolescents with lower cognitive functioning were excluded from the study. This could have also contributed to the restricted range, as those with impaired cognitive functioning are at greater risk for psychological and behavioral problems. Given the importance of identifying factors that protect adolescents from developing mental health problems, further exploration of these variables with more diverse samples is warranted.

Subject Area

Social psychology|Developmental psychology|Clinical psychology

Recommended Citation

Miles-Mason, Eavan S, "A model of social-emotional functioning in adolescents with epilepsy" (2012). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI3494333.