Epilepsy is a chronic disease characterized by periodic seizures that result from abnormal integrated firing impulses in the brain. It is one of the most common neurological disorders. Over the past few years, there has been increasing awareness about the effect that having a child with epilepsy has on parents and the reciprocal impact of parental knowledge and attitudes regarding epilepsy on the affected child.
This study aimed to assess parental knowledge, attitudes, and behavior toward their epileptic children.
A cross-sectional study was conducted in 2018 by the Pediatric Neurology Department of King Abdulaziz University Hospital, Jeddah, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. A sample size of 115 of 332 parents who have a child diagnosed with epilepsy and aged 18 years or younger were recruited for this study. Statistical analysis was performed using SPSS version 21. Data analysis was performed using an independent t test, a chi-square test, one-way analysis of variance, and correlation analysis.
A total of 115 participants answered the questionnaire; of these, 65 (56.5%) were men, with an average age of 40.3 years, and the mean age of the children was 9.0 years. Overall, 85 (85/115, 73.9%) children were taken care of by both of their parents. The mean parental knowledge score was 7.49 (SD 2.08) out of 12, and it was significantly related to the educational level of the parent (P=.004). The knowledge question that was most frequently answered incorrectly was “Diagnosis of epilepsy is usually made based on at least two unprovoked seizures.” As only 28.7% (33/115) of participants chose the correct answer, mean parental attitude score was 26.51 (SD 4.284) out of 35, and there was no significant relation with the educational level of parents (P=.13); however, it was negatively correlated with the child’s age (P=.045). Mean parental behavioral score was 23.35 (SD 4.121) out of 35, and there was no significant relation with the educational level of the parents (P=.24). The most negatively answered question for the behavior section was “I can leave my child without supervision,” with a mean score of 2.25 (SD 1.09) out of 5. Gender did not play a significant role in parental knowledge, attitudes, or behavior (P=.44, P=.77, and P=.99, respectively).
Parental knowledge in our sample still needs improvement. Therefore, more awareness campaigns should be made for the community and for the parents of affected children to create a supportive environment for the children and help them thrive and develop.

©Abdulelah Kinkar, Dalya Alqarni, Abdulaziz Alghamdi, Sahal Wali, Nasser Alghamdi, Saeed Saloom, Mooataz Aashi. Originally published in the Interactive Journal of Medical Research (http://www.i-jmr.org/), 20.01.2020.