Regular Article| Volume 8, ISSUE 2, P111-115, April 1999

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Coping with refractory epilepsy

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      We investigated the coping behaviour and its correlation with demographic and illness-related data, depression, locus of control and psychosocial adaptation in 40 patients with intractable epilepsy with primarily or secondarily generalized tonic–clonic seizures. Three standardized self-reporting questionnaires were applied, which are the Freiburg Questionnaire of Coping with Illness (FKV), the von Zerssen Depression Scale (D-S), and the IPC-questionnaire measuring generalized locus of control beliefs; the Social Interview Schedule (SIS), a semi-structured interview, was used to measure the psychosocial adaptation. Active, problem-focused and compliance strategies were predominantly used and regarded as most helpful. Hence, the epileptic patients use similar coping patterns reported in patients with other non life-threatening chronic diseases. The level of depression was moderate and in the range of other chronic somatic diseases. The use of coping patterns, which are regarded as maladaptive, was correlated with distinct depression, a small degree of internal locus of control beliefs and poor psychosocial adaption. These results indicate the possibility to improve psychosocial adjustment by supporting effective strategies.