Objective: To evaluate longitudinal changes in caregiver depression, anxiety, and family relationships following resective surgery for pediatric drug‐resistant epilepsy (DRE).
Methods: This multicenter cohort study involved 177 caregivers of children with DRE aged 4‐18 years (63 surgical and 114 nonsurgical). Caregivers completed measures of depression (Quick Inventory of Depressive Symptomatology), anxiety (Generalized Anxiety Disorder 7‐item scale), and satisfaction with family relationships (Family Adaptability, Partnership, Growth, Affective, and Resolve scale) at baseline, 6 months, and 1 year. Additional data collected at baseline included child, caregiver, and family sociodemographic and clinical factors as well as family environment (demands and resources).
Results: At 1 year, 64% and 27% of surgical and nonsurgical patients were seizure‐free, respectively. Linear mixed‐effects models found a reduction in caregiver depression (b = −0.85, P =.004) and anxiety (b = −1.09, P =.003), but not family satisfaction (b = 0.18, P =.31) over time. There was no effect of treatment. When seizure outcome was added to the model, seizure freedom was associated with fewer depressive symptoms (b = −1.15, P =.005) and greater family satisfaction (b = 0.65, P =.006), but not anxiety (b = −0.41, P =.42). A greater proportion of caregivers of patients who achieved seizure freedom (32%) versus continued seizures (18%) reported clinically meaningful improvement in depression at 1 year (P =.03). Lower baseline depression (β = 0.42, P <.001), greater family resources (β = −0.18, P =.04), and male caregiver (β = 0.15, P =.02) predicted lower caregiver depression, and lower baseline anxiety (β = 0.47, P <.001), greater family resources (β = −0.24, P =.01), and higher education (β = −0.13, P =.04) predicted lower caregiver anxiety at 1 year. Baseline functioning was the only predictor of family relationships at 1 year (β = 0.49, P <.001).
Significance: Caregivers of children who achieved seizure freedom, irrespective of surgical treatment, report fewer depressive symptoms and greater satisfaction with family relationships. Baseline functioning is the strongest predictor of outcome; however, caregivers of families with fewer resources and supports are also at risk of poor psychosocial outcomes.