The impact of epilepsy on adolescence: a quali-quantitative investigation using focus group

Benedetta Ragni, Simona Cappelletti, Simona De Stasio, Ilaria Tondo, Nicola Specchio, Federico Vigevano, Simonetta Gentile


Adolescents with epilepsy live with a chronic illness that influences their relationships with peers and the development of their autonomy. Questions have been raised as to whether quantitative research approaches can adequately capture patients' experiences of living with epilepsy. By comparison, qualitative research methodologies support a more in-depth exploration of patients' personal experiences, enabling epilepsy researchers to obtain meaningful and valuable insights into patients' unique point of view. Participants in the present study were eight adolescents with epilepsy (five females, three males) aged between 15 and 20 years. The data were collected via a standard focus group procedure and self-report measures (Patient Health Questionnaire for Depression; PHQ-9; Generalized Anxiety Disorder Scale; GAD-7 and Quality of Life Inventory for Adolescents; QOLIE-AD-48). Qualitative analysis of the focus group data yielded four key categories defining the psychosocial impact of epilepsy on adolescence: "Peer relationships and acceptance", "Autonomy", "School," and "Future". These outcomes suggest that epilepsy research may be significantly enhanced by the use of mixed-method approaches: adopting qualitative techniques such as focus group discussions to explore epileptic adolescents' thoughts and feelings and the psychosocial impact of epilepsy during adolescence, can inform clinical practice and promote the empowerment and quality of life of teenagers with epilepsy.


Epilepsy; Adolescence; Psychology; Focus group.

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