The study authors, Jones and her colleagues, interviewed 326 children with epilepsy, aged between 5 and 18 years old, and their parents. The children were divided into a younger group (under 12 years old) and an older group. The parents of the children completed a child behaviour checklist (CBCL).
For both age groups, the study compared children with epilepsy who had more than one mental health issue and children with epilepsy who had none.
The results showed 7 behaviours in the younger group which predicted a higher risk of more than one mental health problem in children with epilepsy. These were: clingy, cruelty or bullying, perfectionist, nervous, poor school work, inattentive and sulks.
For the older group, the study authors found three behaviours that predicted a higher risk – disobedient at school, loner and lying or cheating.
The researchers also compared children with epilepsy who had one mental health problem and children with epilepsy who had none. They found that behaviours didn’t predict a single mental health problem very accurately.
The study found that these behaviours could suggest a higher risk of mental health problems in children with epilepsy. Doctors should recognise this and refer children who are at greater risk to a specialist.