Applying stigma theory to epilepsy: A test of a conceptual model

Lauren E. Westbrook, Laurie J. Bauman, Shlomo Shinnar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

119 Scopus citations


Tested a theoretical model that sought to explain the association of stigma to self-esteem among adolescents with epilepsy. The model depicted hypothesized relationships among several characteristics of epilepsy (seizure type, seizure frequency, and duration of epilepsy), perceived stigma, management of disclosure, and self-esteem. Subjects were 64 adolescents 12 to 20 years old with idiopathic epilepsy. In a hierarchical multiple regression analysis, variables were entered into the equation in the order specified a priori by the model. Results showed that the data supported some hypotheses tested in the model: (a) Seizure type and seizure frequency predicted low self-esteem, and (b) the belief that epilepsy is stigmatizing predicted low self-esteem. However, several relationships of major theoretical significance were not realized. Explanations for why some aspects of stigma theory were not supported by the data are offered.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)633-649
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Pediatric Psychology
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 1992


  • Adolescents
  • Epilepsy
  • Self-esteem
  • Stigma theory

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology


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