Symptoms of depression in adolescents with epilepsy

David W. Dunn, Joan K. Austin, Gertrude A. Huster

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

201 Scopus citations


Objective: To identify factors related to symptoms of depression in a sample of adolescents with epilepsy. Method: Cross-sectional data were collected on 115 adolescents aged 12 to 16 years who had epilepsy. Demographic (age, gender), seizure (severity, age of onset), family (stress, resources, relationships), mother (perceptions of stigma, depression), and child (attitude toward epilepsy, satisfaction with family relationships, coping, perceptions of control) variables were assessed by questionnaire and standardized scales. Depression was measured by the Children's Depression Inventory and the Anxiety/Depression subscale of the Youth Self-Report. Data were analyzed by using multiple regression with depression as the dependent variable. Results: In this sample, 23% of subjects had symptoms of depression. Significant predictors of depression as measured by the Children's Depression inventory (R2 = 0.53) were youth's attitude toward epilepsy, youth satisfaction with family relationships, and unknown locus of control or external locus of control for socially powerful others. Conclusions: Adolescents' attitudes, attributions, and satisfaction with family relationships are related to depression and should be assessed in the clinical setting. The relationship between locus of control and depression fits the learned helplessness model of depression and suggests the need for interventions to promote an internal locus of control in adolescents with epilepsy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1132-1138
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry
Issue number9
StatePublished - Jan 1 1999
Externally publishedYes


  • Adolescents
  • Depression
  • Epilepsy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Symptoms of depression in adolescents with epilepsy'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

  • Cite this