Parent-rated emotional-behavioral and executive functioning in childhood epilepsy

Brian C. Kavanaugh, Vanessa Ramos Scarborough, Cynthia F. Salorio

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


The present study examined clinical and demographic risk factors associated with parent-rated emotional-behavioral and executive functioning in children and adolescents with epilepsy. The medical records of 152 children and adolescents with epilepsy referred for neuropsychological evaluation were reviewed. Results indicated that the sample displayed significantly elevated symptoms across the emotional-behavioral and executive domains assessed. Executive functioning and behavioral symptoms had the highest rates of clinically elevated scores, with lowest rates of elevated scores in internalizing and externalizing emotional problems. Only 34% of those participants with clinically significant emotional-behavioral or executive functioning difficulties had a history of psychological or counseling services, highlighting the underserved mental health needs of this population. In regard to clinical factors, the majority of seizure-related variables were not associated with emotional-behavioral or executive functioning. However, the frequency of seizures (i.e., seizure status) was associated with behavioral regulation aspects of executive functioning, and the age at evaluation was associated with externalizing problems and behavioral symptoms. Family psychiatric history (with the exception of ADHD) was associated with all domains of executive and emotional-behavioral functioning. In summary, emotional-behavioral and executive functioning difficulties frequently co-occur with seizures in childhood epilepsy, with both seizure-related and demographic factors contributing to the presentation of such neurobehavioral comorbidities. The present findings provide treatment providers of childhood epilepsy with important information to assist in better identifying children and adolescents who may be at risk for neurobehavioral comorbidities and may benefit from intervention.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)22-28
Number of pages7
JournalEpilepsy and Behavior
StatePublished - Jan 1 2015


  • Children
  • Comorbidities
  • Emotional-behavioral functioning
  • Epilepsy
  • Executive functioning
  • Neuropsychological

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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