Regular Article| Volume 8, ISSUE 2, P93-96, April 1999

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Coping with epilepsy: the effect of coping styles on self-perceived seizure severity and psychological complaints

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      Having a chronic condition like epilepsy imposes a serious burden for the sufferer. This is reflected in a higher level of psychological complaints. The way in which one copes with epilepsy is an important determinant in this level of complaints and in the self-perceived severity of the seizures. In this paper the relation between coping styles and self-perceived seizure severity as well as psychological complaints, is studied. A group of epilepsy patients was asked to fill out a number of questionnaires on coping styles, self-perceived seizure severity and psychological complaints. The patients with epilepsy were seen to have coping styles different from the general population: in general they tended to use less active strategies in coping with their problems. A less active coping style was found to be related to a higher self-perceived seizure severity. Other epilepsy-related variables, like seizure frequency, showed no relation with self-perceived seizure severity. This could mean that stimulating patients to use active coping styles results in a decrease in self-perceived seizure severity.