Does being 'well off' help people with epilepsy cope better? The social impact of epilepsy Academic Article uri icon


  • Abstract Introduction Studies demonstrate that there is a positive association between socioeconomic status (SES) and personal control where higher SES groups are likely to have higher personal control and better health outcomes. People with epilepsy however usually show lower levels of personal control. This paper aims to explore the relationship between self-rated prosperity and personal control in an epilepsy sample. Methods Using the results of the 2013 Australian Epilepsy Longitudinal Survey (AELS) a group was identified who perceived themselves as prosperous or very comfortable. Hypothesising that prosperity would provide greater personal control, we compared this group with other groups from HILDA Wave 11, a random sample of the Australian population surveyed in 2011. HILDA is a household, labour and income study funded by the Australian government. Results All respondents in Wave 3 (AELS) had lower levels of personal control than the HILDA Wave 11 groups. In a comparison between Wave 3 of those reporting themselves as prosperous or very comfortable with similar groups in HILDA Wave 11, prosperous people from Wave 3 demonstrated much lower levels of personal control than the HILDA Wave 11 group. Conclusion Personal control is considered to have far-reaching consequences for people's health. The effects of stigma and the unpredictability of epilepsy far outweigh the effects of prosperity for people with epilepsy compared to a random sample of the Australian population.

publication date

  • 2017