Optimism, pessimism, and neuropsychological performance across semiology-based subtypes of psychogenic nonepileptic seizures

Academic Article


  • Past research has suggested that pessimistic attributional style may be a risk factor for psychopathology among patients with seizure disorders. In addition, classifying psychogenic nonepileptic seizures (PNES) into subtypes has been found to be clinically relevant. However, very few studies have addressed differences in optimism, pessimism, or neuropsychological performance among PNES subtypes. We previously classified adults with PNES into semiology-based subtypes (catatonic, minor motor, major motor). In the study described here, we compared subtypes on optimism, pessimism, depressive symptoms, and neuropsychological performance. We found that patients with PNES with low optimism had significantly greater depressive symptoms than patients with high optimism, F(2, 39) = 36.49, P < 0.01). Moreover, patients with high pessimism had significantly greater depressive symptoms than patients with low pessimism, F(2, 39) = 13.66, P < 0.01. We also found that the catatonic subtype was associated with fewer depressive symptoms and better verbal memory than the other PNES subtypes. Our results support relationships between optimism, pessimism, and depressive symptoms and extend these findings to a PNES sample. Overall, the results of the present study suggest that classification into semiology-based subtypes and study of normal personality traits among patients with PNES may have clinical significance. © 2008 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
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    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Griffith NM; Smith KM; Schefft BK; Szaflarski JP; Privitera MD
  • Start Page

  • 478
  • End Page

  • 484
  • Volume

  • 13
  • Issue

  • 3