OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the degree of parental anxiety and family disruption following a child's first febrile seizure. PATIENTS AND METHODS: The families of all children presenting with their first febrile seizure to any of the three emergency departments in the Saskatoon District, Saskatchewan, were invited to participate in a telephone interview to assess the degree of parental anxiety and family dysfunction that was experienced. Parameters measured included co-sleeping with the child, parental sleep disturbance, parental fatigue, monitor use, the number of night time checks on a child, child care use, parental outings, parental fear of missing a seizure, parental perception of a child's increased vulnerability and the family's stress level. The interview, which was conducted shortly after presentation at the emergency departments, compared anxiety and dysfunction experienced during the two weeks immediately preceding the visit with that experienced during the two weeks following a febrile seizure. Potential predictors of anxiety and dysfunction, including details of the presenting seizure, past medical illnesses, family history, the family's socioeconomic status and parental perception of the risk of a febrile seizure were queried. RESULTS: Thirty-one (89%) of 35 families who were eligible for the study participated. Parental anxiety and family dysfunction were significantly greater for nearly all of the parameters assessed during the two weeks following a seizure. Socioeconomic factors correlated most closely with anxiety and dysfunction before a febrile seizure; however, socioeconomic factors were less predictive of anxiety and dysfunction during the two weeks following a seizure. CONCLUSIONS: Parental anxiety and family dysfunction are the rule following a child's first febrile seizure. Neither higher socioeconomic status nor an understanding of the low risk of sequelae associated with febrile seizures was strongly predictive of improved coping during the two weeks following a seizure.
- Febrile seizures
- Parental anxiety
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health