Purpose: To examine between-country differences in health-related quality of life (HRQOL) of adults with epilepsy across a large number of European countries. Methods: Self-completion postal questionnaire sent to large sample of adults with epilepsy, recruited from epilepsy support groups or epilepsy outpatient clinics. The questionnaire was developed in English and translated. Back-translations from each language were checked for accuracy. The questionnaire sought information on clinical and socio-demographic details, and contained a number of previously validated scales of psychosocial well-being (the SF-36, the perceived impact of epilepsy scale, and a feelings of stigma scale). Results: Controlling for socio-demographic and clinical characteristics, significant between-country differences were found in scores on the perceived impact of epilepsy scale, on seven of the eight SF-36 domains, and on the feelings of stigma scale. Respondents in Spain and the Netherlands fared consistently better, whilst those in France fared poorest, compared to those in other countries in terms of the various HRQOL measures used. Conclusion: Several possible reasons for the cross-cultural differences in HRQOL are proposed. Clearly, there is no single explanation and there may also be reasons which we have overlooked. This study emphasises the need for further comprehensive research in order that the position of people with epilepsy in different countries be more thoroughly understood in the social context.
Cross-cultural comparisons Epilepsy Health-related quality of life SF-36 Stigma