The impact of childhood epilepsy on academic performance: a population-based matched cohort study

Reidar P. Lystad*, Anne McMaugh, Geoffrey Herkes, Tim Badgery-Parker, Cate M. Cameron, Rebecca J. Mitchell

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Objectives: To compare academic performance and high school completion of young people admitted to hospital with epilepsy and matched peers from the general population not admitted to hospital with epilepsy during the study period. Methods: A population-based matched case-comparison cohort study of young people aged ≤18 years hospitalised with epilepsy during 2005-2018 in New South Wales, Australia, using linked birth, health, education, and mortality records. The comparison cohort was matched on age, sex, and residential postcode. Generalised linear mixed modelling examined risk of school performance below the national minimum standard (NMS), and generalised linear regression examined risk of not completing high school for young people hospitalised with epilepsy compared to matched peers not hospitalised with epilepsy during the study period. Adjusted relative risks (ARRs) with 95% confidence intervals (CIs) were derived from the final models. Results: Young people hospitalised with epilepsy had more than 3 times higher risk of not achieving the NMS for numeracy (ARR: 3.40; 95%CI 2.76‒4.18) and reading (ARR: 3.15; 95%CI 2.60‒3.82), compared to matched peers. Young people hospitalised with epilepsy had a 78% higher risk of not completing year 10 (ARR: 1.78; 95%CI 1.14‒2.79), 18% higher risk of not completing year 11 (ARR: 1.18; 95%CI 0.97‒1.45), and 38% higher risk of not completing year 12 (ARR: 1.38; 95%CI 1.14‒1.67), compared to matched counterparts. Conclusion: Young people hospitalised with epilepsy have higher risk of not achieving minimum standards for numeracy and reading and not completing high school compared to matched peers. There is a need for effective strategies and interventions (e.g., early seizure control and improved multidisciplinary management and care coordination) to minimise the potential adverse effect of epilepsy on education and its sequelae such as early school leaving, unemployment and poverty in adulthood.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)91-98
Number of pages8
JournalSeizure
Volume99
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2022

Keywords

  • Academic performance
  • Epilepsy
  • High school completion
  • Young people

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