Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository


Master of Science


Epidemiology and Biostatistics


Dr. Kathy Nixon Speechley


This study assessed the association between early severity of epilepsy and subsequent depressive symptoms in youth and the extent to which family and clinical factors mediated this relationship. Data were obtained from the Health-Related Quality of Life in Children with Epilepsy Study, a multi-centre prospective study of children with new-onset epilepsy. A multiple linear regression analysis revealed severity of epilepsy 2 years post-diagnosis to be positively associated with depressive symptoms 10 years post-diagnosis (b=2.10, 95%CI:0.42,3.79). The results of generalized estimating equation models found family functioning, family resources, parental depressive symptoms, and antiepileptic drug use to not be mediators. Five-year seizure freedom mediated this relationship (ab=1.22, 95%CI:0.35,2.09), decreasing the magnitude of the total effect of severity of epilepsy on depressive symptoms by 58%. These findings provide insight on long-term effects of the early clinical presentation of epilepsy. Clinical efforts to achieve remission may be targeted to reduce risk of depressive symptoms.

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