Childhood family dysfunction and associated abuse in patients with nonepileptic seizures: Towards a causal model

Peter Salmon, Suad M. Al-Marzooqi, Gus Baker, James Reilly

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

60 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Objective: A history of childhood sexual abuse is thought to characterize patients with nonepileptic seizures (NES). We tested the hypotheses: 1) that history of sexual abuse is more prevalent in patients with NES than in controls with epilepsy; 2) that such abuse is associated with NES, not directly but because it is a marker of family dysfunction; and 3) that family dysfunction and abuse are, in turn, linked to NES because they increase a general tendency to somatize. Methods: We compared 81 patients with NES with 81 case-matched epilepsy patients, using questionnaires to elicit recollections of sexual, physical, and psychological abuse and family atmosphere and to quantify current somatization. Results: Although each form of abuse was more prevalent in NES patients, only child psychological abuse uniquely distinguished NES from epilepsy. However, its association with NES was explained by family dysfunction. A general tendency to somatize explained part of the relationship of abuse to NES. Conclusions: Abuse therefore seems to be a marker for aspects of family dysfunction that are associated with - and may therefore cause - somatization and, specifically, NES.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)695-700
Number of pages6
JournalPsychosomatic Medicine
Volume65
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2003

Keywords

  • Abuse
  • Epilepsy
  • Family dysfunction
  • Nonepileptic seizures
  • Somatization

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Applied Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'Childhood family dysfunction and associated abuse in patients with nonepileptic seizures: Towards a causal model'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this