People with epilepsy (PWE) are at an increased risk of anxiety, depression, and suicidality. Young adulthood is a critical developmental period which can be complicated by the unique challenges of having epilepsy. The risk factors of mental health difficulties in young adults with epilepsy (YAWE) have not been investigated.
To examine the relationships between psychosocial variables (coping strategies and sources of social support) and mental health outcomes in YAWE, and determine whether these psychosocial variables independently predict mental health outcomes after controlling for sociodemographic and epilepsy-related factors.
An online survey was completed by 144 YAWE (18-25-year-olds), which measured sociodemographic and epilepsy-related factors, coping strategies, sources of social support, and current mental health symptoms (anxiety, depression, and suicidality).
Avoidant-focused coping was positively correlated, and problem-focused coping and meaning-focused coping were negatively correlated, with symptoms of anxiety, depression, and suicidality. Social support from family, friends, and a special person all negatively correlated with mental health outcomes. Using multiple regression analyses, greater use of avoidant-focused coping strategies independently predicted higher symptoms of anxiety, depression, and suicidality. Greater support from friends independently predicted significantly lower anxiety and depression, whereas greater support from family independently predicted significantly lower suicidality.
These findings have implications for clinical practice in YAWE and suggest that screening for mental health symptoms and psychosocial variables to identify those at risk would be beneficial. Access to tailored psychological support is also needed.

Copyright © 2021 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.