November 10, 2020

Predictors of High School Dropout, Anxiety, and Depression in Genetic Generalized Epilepsy

Abstract, originally published in Epilepsia

Affective disorders are overrepresented in epilepsy, and people with epilepsy may be at risk of dropping out from school.

The aim of the present study was to assess factors influencing high school dropout, anxiety, and depression in genetic generalized epilepsy (GGE).

One hundred and ten people with GGE aged 19-40 years underwent a clinical interview, including the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS) questionnaire. Potential predictors of high school dropout were analyzed with logistic regression, and factors influencing total HADS score were analyzed with linear regression. Having felt excluded because of epilepsy was significantly associated with high school dropout (odds ratio 7.80, P = .009), as was total HADS score (odds ratio 1.22, P = .005). If a participant was currently employed or undergoing education, previous high school dropout was less likely (odds ratio 0.07, P = .005).

High school dropout was associated with increased current anxiety and depression (β = 0.32, P = .005). Epilepsy severity (current drug resistance, current polytherapy, and active generalized tonic-clonic seizures) was not associated with high school dropout, nor with total Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale score. The issue of stigma in epilepsy must be thoroughly addressed in comprehensive care and may be as important as seizure control when it comes to education and quality of life.