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Behavior and mental health problems in children with epilepsy and low IQ

  • Janice M Buelow (a1), Joan K Austin (a1), Susan M Perkins (a2), Jianzhao Shen (a2), David W Dunn (a2) and Philip S Fastenau (a3)...


The purpose of this cross-sectional descriptive study was to describe the particular types of behavioral problems, self-concept, and symptoms of depression experienced by children with both low IQ and epilepsy. Three groups of children (83 males, 81 females; mean age 11 years 10 months, SD 1 year 10 months; age range 9 to 14 years) with epilepsy were compared: (Group 1) Low IQ (<85), n=48, 25 males, 23 females; (Group 2) Middle IQ (85 to 100), n=58, 24 males, 34 females; and (Group 3) High IQ (>100), n=58, 34 males, 24 females. The Child Behavior Checklist, Piers–Harris Self-Concept Scale, and Children's Depression Inventory were used to measure behavior, self-concept, and depression respectively. Results indicated that children in the Low IQ group had the most behavioral and mental health problems. Additionally, there were IQ group-by-sex interactions, with females in the Low IQ group being at the highest risk for poor self-concept. Findings suggest that children with both epilepsy and low IQ should be carefully assessed for mental health problems in the clinical setting.


Corresponding author

1111 Middle Drive NU 492, Indiana University School of Nursing, Indianapolis, Indiana 46202-5107, USA. E-mail:


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