Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Anxiety and Depression in Youth With Epilepsy.

Research paper by Amelia J AJ Scott, Louise L Sharpe, Max M Loomes, Milena M Gandy

Indexed on: 08 Jan '20Published on: 07 Jan '20Published in: Journal of pediatric psychology


The aim of this systematic review and meta-analysis was to provide an estimate of the prevalence of anxiety and depressive disorders in youth with epilepsy (YWE). It also aimed to calculate the overall magnitude of observed differences in anxiety and depressive symptoms reported by YWE compared with healthy controls and investigate whether any factors moderated anxiety and depression outcomes in YWE. Following prospective registration, electronic databases were searched up until October 2018. Studies were included if they reported on the rate of anxiety or depression in samples of YWE, and/or if they used valid measures of anxious or depressive symptomatology in YWE compared with a healthy control sample. Twenty-three studies met inclusion criteria. The overall pooled prevalence of anxiety disorders in YWE was 18.9% (95% confidence interval [CI] 12.0%-28.5%), and for depression the pooled prevalence was 13.5% (95% CI 8.8%-20.2%). In samples of YWE compared with healthy controls, significantly higher anxiety (d = 0.57, 95% CI 0.32-0.83, p < .000) and depressive (d = 0.42, 95% CI 0.16-0.68, p < .000) symptomatology was reported. YWE report anxiety and depressive disorders and symptoms to a significantly higher degree than youth without epilepsy. There is also evidence that certain anxiety disorders (e.g. generalized anxiety disorder, separation anxiety disorder) are particularly elevated, perhaps reflecting the unique impact of epilepsy on youth psychopathology. Research is needed to understand the risk factors associated with anxiety and depressive disorders in epilepsy, and better understand how these symptoms change across development. © The Author(s) 2020. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Society of Pediatric Psychology. All rights reserved. For permissions, please e-mail: journals.permissions@oup.com.