Extracurricular participation among children with epilepsy in Canada
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INTRODUCTION: Participation in extracurricular activities creates opportunities for children to foster friendships, promote a sense of belonging, and improve physical and mental well-being. The objective of this study was to determine the relationship(s) of personal factors, seizure variables, and social supports with extracurricular participation in children with epilepsy (CWE). METHODS: Baseline analysis of the QUALITÉ longitudinal study cohort of children aged 8-14 years (N=426) was conducted. Variables hypothesized to be related to the participation of CWE were classified using the International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health according to body functions (presence of generalized tonic-clonic seizures in the past month, on/off AEDs, and seizure severity), environmental factors (perceived social support from parents and friends), and personal factors (sex, age, family structure, and family income). Analysis of variables related to extracurricular participation was conducted with regression modeling. RESULTS: Personal factors of age, gender, and family structure as well as body function variables of generalized tonic-clonic seizures and seizure severity were found to be the most important to extracurricular participation based on how frequently they were included in the final models (16/16 and 13/16 times, respectively). When parental support was found to be related to participation, the association was negative in 6 out of 16 models. DISCUSSION: The personal factors that are related to extracurricular participation among children with epilepsy mirror samples based on the general population, although seizures also play an important role. The relationship between perceived parental support and actual participation levels warrants further exploration.