Memories of parental rearing behaviour were assessed by the EMBU in 61 epileptics and 151 healthy controls. The occurrence of the first crisis during the childhood was an inclusion criterion for patients. Epileptics, as compared with controls, rated their fathers and mothers as less stimulating, their fathers as less performance oriented and affectionate, and their mothers as more tolerant. Moreover, the score on the subscale ‘favouring subject’ for both fathers and mothers was higher in epileptics. As patients with and without interictal psychopathological features were compared, the scores on the subscales ‘overprotective’ and ‘favouring subject’ for mothers and ‘abusive’ and ‘depriving’ for fathers were higher in the former subgroup, whereas that on the subscale ‘performance oriented’ for fathers was higher in the latter. No significant difference was observed among patients suffering from the various subtypes of epilepsy. These results are consistent with the idea that parents of epileptics tend to encourage passivity in their children, have low expectations as regards their ability to operate effectively, and treat them in a more indulgent way because of their disability. Furthermore, they are in line with the reported association between maternal overprotectiveness and problem behaviour in epileptics.

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