Psychological features and quality of life in 50 adult patients with epilepsy and their caregivers from the Lecco epilepsy center, Italy

Alessandra Petruzzi, Andrea Rigamonti, Claudia Yvonne Finocchiaro, Paolo Borelli, Elena Lamperti, Antonio Silvani, Rossana Regazzoni, Lorenzo Stanzani, Andrea Salmaggi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Epilepsy is one of the most common neurological disorders. To the best of our knowledge, in Italy, the relationship between patients' and caregivers' psychological state has rarely been analyzed. Thus, we sought to evaluate both the psychological state of patients with epilepsy and that of their caregivers and the interrelationship between them. We also assessed the existing relation between psychological features and some clinical and demographic information, such as number of antiepileptic drugs (AEDs), epilepsy duration and education level of patients and their caregivers. We enrolled in the study 50 consecutive adult patients attending the epilepsy clinic of “A. Manzoni” Hospital and their caregivers. Both patients and their caregivers were administered Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS) and 36-item Short-Form Health Survey (SF-36). Anxiety, depression and quality of life values of both patients and their caregivers did not differ significantly from the normative samples. No statistically significant correlation between epilepsy duration and patients' and caregivers' psychological features was found. Patients which took more than one AED reported lower values of “Vitality” (p < .05) and “Social Functioning” (p < .05) than their own caregivers. Caregivers with higher education level presented lower “Vitality” values than caregivers with lower education level (p < .05). Patients with pharmacoresistant seizures reported lower values of “Mental Health” than patients with non-pharmacoresistant seizures (p < .05). In this context, the role of coping mechanisms by patients and caregivers may explain apparently unexpected findings and suggests that strategies aimed at reinforcing them may be effective in selected cases. Therefore, while the severity of epilepsy may have an impact on the psychological state of adult patients with epilepsy and their caregivers, our results highlight the role of multidimensional determinants, including stigma. Further studies are needed to identify the factors related to epilepsy, patients, caregivers, treatments, and the environment that may be modifiable in order to improve self-perceived QoL.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)13-16
Number of pages4
JournalEpilepsy and Behavior
Publication statusPublished - Jun 1 2017


  • Caregivers
  • Patients with epilepsy
  • Psychological features
  • Quality of life

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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