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  • 2017BakerDClinPsy

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Psychological perspectives on stigma and self-compassion in adults with epilepsy

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis

  • David Baker
Publication date2017
Number of pages211
Awarding Institution
  • Lancaster University
<mark>Original language</mark>English


Section 1 describes a systematic literature review examining quantitative correlates of stigma
in adults with epilepsy living in Western countries. To identify relevant literature, four
academic databases (PsycINFO, CINAHL, PubMed, and Scopus) were systematically
searched using key terms related to stigma and epilepsy. The findings of the review
suggested that stigma can be predicted by demographic, illness-related, and psychosocial
factors; although associations were found to be highly culturally-specific. Detrimental effects
of stigma included both physical health, including effective management of the condition,
and psychological wellbeing, including difficulties such as depression and anxiety. These
findings suggested that culturally-informed educational initiatives and therapeutic
interventions which aim to address stigma in people with epilepsy (PWE) are needed.
Section 2 describes a research study examining the extent to which self-compassion can
predict depression, anxiety, and resilience in PWE, when controlling for other important
demographic and illness-related variables. Adults with epilepsy were invited to take part in a
survey either online or in epilepsy or neurology clinics. Data were then analysed using
hierarchical multiple regression models. In this sample of PWE, self-compassion was found
to significantly predict lower depression and anxiety and higher resilience when other
significant sociodemographic and illness-related variables had been taken into account.
These findings indicated that self-compassion is an important factor in determining
psychological outcomes for PWE, providing preliminary support for the use of compassionfocused
approaches in this population.
Section 3 provides a critical appraisal of the thesis. This includes a summary of the main
findings; a discussion of some of the key decisions, challenges, and professional issues identified during the research process; a consideration of potential future research arising
from the findings; and personal reflections on the process of undertaking the work.