A randomized controlled trial of a manual-based psychosocial group intervention for young people with epilepsy [PIE]

Liam Dorris, Helen Broome, Margaret Wilson, Cathy Grant, David Young, Gus Baker, Selina Balloo, Susan Bruce, Jo Campbell, Bernie Concannon, Nadia Conway, Lisa Cook, Cheryl Davis, Bruce Downey, Jon Evans, Diane Flower, Jack Garlovsky, Shauna Kearney, Susan J Lewis, Victoria StephensStuart Turton, Ingram Wright

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We conducted an exploratory RCT to examine feasibility and preliminary efficacy for a manual-based psychosocial group intervention aimed at improving epilepsy knowledge, self-management skills, and quality of life in young people with epilepsy.

METHOD: Eighty-three participants (33:50m/f; age range 12-17years) were randomized to either the treatment or control group in seven tertiary paediatric neuroscience centres in the UK, using a wait-list control design. Participants were excluded if they reported suicidal ideation and/or scored above the cut off on mental health screening measures, or if they had a learning disability or other neurological disorder. The intervention consisted of six weekly 2-hour sessions using guided discussion, group exercises and role-plays facilitated by an epilepsy nurse and a clinical psychologist.

RESULTS: At three month follow up the treatment group (n=40) was compared with a wait-list control group (n=43) on a range of standardized measures. There was a significant increase in epilepsy knowledge in the treatment group (p=0.02). Participants receiving the intervention were also significantly more confident in speaking to others about their epilepsy (p=0.04). Quality of life measures did not show significant change. Participants reported the greatest value of attending the group was: Learning about their epilepsy (46%); Learning to cope with difficult feelings (29%); and Meeting others with epilepsy (22%). Caregiver and facilitator feedback was positive, and 92% of participants would recommend the group to others.

CONCLUSION: This brief psychosocial group intervention was effective in increasing participants' knowledge of epilepsy and improved confidence in discussing their epilepsy with others. We discuss the qualitative feedback, feasibility, strengths and limitations of the PIE trial.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)89-98
Number of pages10
JournalEpilepsy & Behavior
Early online date7 Jun 2017
Publication statusPublished - 31 Jul 2017


  • paediatric epilepsy
  • randomized controlled trial
  • psychosocial
  • group intervention
  • epilepsy knowledge
  • adolescents
  • psychosocial intervention
  • holistic care
  • chronic illness


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