Emotional well-being in children with epilepsy: Family factors as mediators and moderators



Our objective was to examine the relationships of factors associated with children’s emotional well-being 2 years after diagnosis, and to examine if these relationships are mediated or moderated by family factors.


Data came from a multicenter prospective cohort study of children with newly diagnosed epilepsy from across Canada (Health-Related Quality of Life in Children with Epilepsy Study; HERQULES, n = 373). Emotional well-being was assessed using the Quality of Life in Childhood Epilepsy Questionnaire (QOLCE-55). The relationships between clinical factors, family factors, and emotional well-being were assessed using multiple regression analyses.


Family functioning, family stress, and repertoire of resources that the families had to adapt to stressful events were significantly associated with poor emotional well-being 2 years after diagnosis (p < 0.05) in the multivariable analysis. The effect of parental depressive symptoms was partially mediated by family functioning and family stress (p < 0.01 and p = 0.02, respectively). Family resources acted as a moderator in the relationship between severity of epilepsy and emotional well-being (p < 0.05).


Based on our findings, efforts to strengthen the family environment may warrant attention. We suggest that clinicians take a family centered care approach by including families in treatment planning. Family centered care has been shown to improve family well-being and coping and in turn may reduce the impact of clinical factors on emotional well-being to improve long-term health-related quality of life.