Jones C, Reilly C. Parental anxiety in childhood epilepsy: A systematic review. Epilepsia. 2016 Apr;57(4):529-37.
The aim was to systematically review studies that have focused on symptoms of anxiety reported by parents of children (0-18 years) with epilepsy. PubMed was used to identify relevant studies. Selected studies were reviewed with respect to prevalence of above threshold scores and comparisons with controls on standardized measures of anxiety. Studies are also reported with respect to factors associated with parental anxiety, impact on child outcomes, and comparisons with studies that have included equivalent measures of symptoms of depression. Fifteen studies that met inclusion criteria were identified. None of the studies were population based. The percentage of parents scoring above cutoffs on standardized measures of anxiety was 9-58%. In comparison with parents of healthy controls, parents of children with epilepsy had higher mean scores in two of three studies where this was measured. Possible correlates of parental anxiety in childhood epilepsy that were considered varied widely across studies. Factors such as seizure frequency and use of antiepileptic drugs (AEDs) have been associated with parental anxiety in some but not all studies. With respect to child outcome, increased parental anxiety has been associated with lower quality of life and lower scores on adaptive behavior domains. Symptoms of anxiety are common among parents of children with epilepsy. There is a need for more systematic, representative studies to identify the prevalence of clinically significant anxiety and track the course of symptoms. Such studies will help to identify more clearly factors associated with parental anxiety and impact of symptoms on child and parent outcomes. Intervention studies are needed to evaluate approaches that target a reduction in symptoms and the potential impact on parental and child functioning. Furthermore, there is a need to evaluate the impact of antiepileptic therapies and interventions that focus on child neurobehavioral comorbidities on parental anxiety.