Objective To test whether the reported association between pediatric epilepsy and behavioral problems may be distorted by the use of parental proxy report instruments. Study design Children in the Connecticut Study of Epilepsy were assessed 8-9 years after their epilepsy diagnosis (time-1) with the parent-proxy Child Behavior Check List (CBCL) (ages 6-18 years) or the Young Adult Self-Report (≥18 years of age). For children <18 years of age, parents also completed the Child Health Questionnaire, which contains scales for impact of child's illness on the parents. The same study subjects completed the Adult Self-Report 6-8 years later (time-2). Sibling controls were also tested. Case-control differences were examined for evidence suggesting more behavioral problems in cases with epilepsy than in controls based on proxy- vs self-report measures. Results At time-1, parent-proxy CBCL scores were significantly higher (worse) for cases than controls (n = 140 matched pairs). After adjustment for Child Health Questionnaire scales reflecting parent emotional and time impact, only 1 case-control difference on the CBCL remained significant. Self-reported Young Adult Self-Report scores did not differ between cases and controls (n = 42 pairs). At time-2, there were no significant self-reported case-control differences on the Adult Self-Report (n = 105 pairs). Conclusions Parent-proxy behavior measures appear to be influenced by the emotional impact of epilepsy on parents. This may contribute to apparent associations between behavioral problems and childhood epilepsy. Self-report measures in older adolescents (>18 years of age) and young adults do not confirm parental perceptions. Evidence suggesting more behavioral problems in children with epilepsy should be interpreted in light of the source of information.
- parental emotions
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health