Background. Parents of a child with neurological problems such as seizures and epilepsy experience significant mental distress. Little is known about the mental state of parents in such a stressful situation. This study aims to determine the prevalence of self-reported depression, anxiety, sleep disorders, and quality of life in parents of children with epilepsy and first unprovoked seizure.

Methods. This cross-sectional study was conducted among the parents of children diagnosed with first unprovoked seizure and epilepsy admitted to the Pediatric Neurology Department, Outpatient Unit of İnönü University Medical Faculty Hospital. Participants filled out a questionnaire investigating demographic variables, Beck Anxiety Inventory (BAI), Beck Depression Inventory (BDI), Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index (PSQI), and 36-Item Short-Form Health Survey (SF-36).

Results. 113 parents participated in the study. Depression was found in 7%, anxiety in 14%, and sleep quality disorder in 33.3% of parents of children diagnosed with epilepsy on the basis of moderate or higher severity, while depression was found in 8.9%, anxiety in 14.3%, and sleep disorder in 21.4% of parents of children diagnosed with first unprovoked seizure. There was no statistically significant difference between the groups. Mothers were at higher risk for loss of physical function and social functionality. There was a positive correlation between BAI, BDI, and PSQI scores. Quality of life sub-dimension measured by SF-36 was associated with different levels of depression, anxiety, and sleep quality.

Conclusion. Addressing parental psychiatric problems by professionals involved in the treatment of children with a history of seizures may have the potential to provide further support for the family and the care of patients. 

Keywords: pediatric epilepsy, parental sleep disorder, depression, anxiety, quality of life