Cochrane systematic review and meta-analysis of the impact of psychological treatment on health-related quality of life in people with epilepsy: an update by the ILAE Psychology Task Force, highlighting methodological changes

Rosa Michaelis, Venus Tang, Sarah J Nevitt, Janelle L Wagner, Avani C Modi, W Curt LaFrance, Laura H Goldstein, Milena Gandy, Rebecca Bresnahan, Kette Valente, Kirsten A Donald, Markus Reuber

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Clinical interest in using psychological interventions for people with epilepsy (PWE) aiming at decreasing mental health difficulties, improving health-related quality of life (HRQOL) and seizure-related outcomes, continues to grow. This article summarizes the 2020 update of the 2017 Cochrane Review and meta-analysis of psychological interventions for PWE, highlighting the reasons for major methodological modifications such as the recategorization of interventions and expanded risk of bias assessment. A 2020 literature search yielded 36 RCTs (n=3526) investigating psychological treatments for PWE with a validated HRQOL measure as an outcome. Twenty-seven trials were skills-based psychological interventions, whilst nine studies were education-only interventions. Among skills-based psychological interventions, 11 studies (n=643) used the Quality of Life in Epilepsy-31 (QOLIE-31) or other QOLIE inventories convertible to QOLIE-31 as an outcome measure and were pooled for meta-analysis. Significant mean changes were observed for the QOLIE-31 total score (mean improvement of 5.23 points; p< 0.001) and in six out of seven subscales (emotional well-being, energy and fatigue, overall QoL, seizure worry, medication and cognitive functioning). The mean changes in the QOLIE-31 total score and the overall QoL subscale exceeded the threshold of minimally important change (MIC), indicating clinically meaningful post-intervention improvement. These results provide moderate evidence that psychological treatments for adults and adolescents with epilepsy enhance HRQOL. In addition to the summary of the Cochrane review, we provide a detailed characterization of the interventions and patient populations of the meta-analyzed studies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)803-811
Number of pages9
JournalEpileptic disorders : international epilepsy journal with videotape
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2021


  • Adolescent
  • Cognition
  • Epilepsy/therapy
  • Humans
  • Outcome Assessment, Health Care
  • Quality of Life
  • Seizures

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