Screening for epilepsy-specific anxiety symptoms: French validation of the EASI


  • Micoulaud-Franchi Jean-Arthur
  • Kotwas Iliana
  • Arthuis Marie
  • Soncin Lisa
  • Rontani Pauline
  • Daquin Geraldine
  • Cermolacce Michel
  • Bartolomei Fabrice
  • Mcgonigal Aileen

document type



Objectives: (1) To translate and validate the Epilepsy Anxiety Survey Instrument (EASI) in French people with epilepsy (PWE); (2) to further investigate the screening properties of each dimension of the EASI in terms of Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) anxiety disorders and of epilepsy specific anxiety disorders, namely, anticipatory anxiety of seizures (AAS) and epileptic social phobia. Methods: Following back-translation, the French EASI was tested in PWE > 18 years using the Mini International Neuropsychiatric Interview (MINI) as gold standard for DSM anxiety disorders. We added 3 original questions to explore epilepsy-specific anxiety symptoms. The Generalized Anxiety Disorders-7 (GAD-7), Neurological Disorders Depression Inventory for Epilepsy (NDDI-E), and Adverse Events Profile were performed for external validity. Receiver operator characteristics (ROC) were analyzed. Results: One hundred and forty nine native French speakers with epilepsy were included. Concerning DSM disorders, around 25% had GAD, 18% Agoraphobia, and <10% Social Phobia or Panic Disorder. Concerning possible epilepsy-specific anxiety disorder, 35% had AAS and 38% had epileptic social phobia. Bi-dimensional structure of the EASI was confirmed. Internal and external validity was satisfactory. ROC analysis showed AUC of 0.83 for detection of GAD and AUC 0.79 for other DSM anxiety disorders. ROC analysis of the 8-item French brEASI showed good performance for detection of GAD (AUC 0.83) and other DSM anxiety disorders (AUC 0.76) but not for epilepsy-specific anxiety symptoms (AUC 0.63). Conversely, dimension 2 of the French EASI (=10 items) allowed good detection of epilepsy-specific anxiety symptoms (AUC 0.78); cutoff > 4, sensitivity 82.4, specificity 66.7. Conclusion: Epilepsy-specific anxiety symptoms were prevalent, in around 60%. The French version of the EASI showed robust performance. The French 8-item brEASI allows screening for all DSM anxiety disorders with superior performance than the GAD-7, but is less suited to screening for epilepsy-specific anxiety. We propose the Epilepsy-Specific Anxiety (ESA) 10-item screening instrument, based on dimension 2 of the EASI, as a complementary clinical and research tool. (c) 2022 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

more information