Continuing psychosocial care needs in children with new-onset epilepsy and their parents

Cheryl P. Shore, Janice M. Buelow, Joan K. Austin, Cynthia S. Johnson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

32 Scopus citations


Children with new-onset epilepsy and their parents have many psychosocial care needs, including concerns and fears and needs for information and support. No prospective studies address psychosocial care needs at 12 and 24 months after seizure onset. It is unknown if psychosocial care needs are associated with children's attitudes toward having epilepsy or with parental responses to their child's epilepsy. Our study addresses this knowledge gap. Members of 143 families took part in the study. Children were 8 to 14 years old and had at least two seizures. Parents and children completed Psychosocial Care Need Scales at 3, 6, 12, and 24 months after the first seizure. Children also completed the Child Attitude Toward Illness Scale, and parents completed the Parent Response to Child Illness scale. Data were analyzed using descriptive statistics and correlations. Although psychosocial care needs were highest at the 3-month data collection for both parents and children, some worries and concerns and needs for information and support persisted for 24 months. In children, more psychosocial care needs were associated with more negative attitudes toward having epilepsy. In parents, high psychosocial care needs were associated with a more negative impact on family life. A substantial number of parents and children have unmet psychosocial care needs that are associated with more negative child attitudes and a negative impact on family life, even 24 months after the onset of seizures. Nurses should assess both children and parents for these needs at every encounter with the healthcare system to address their needs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)244-250
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Neuroscience Nursing
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 1 2009

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Endocrine and Autonomic Systems
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Medical–Surgical

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