1Dottore di Ricerca in Medicina Materno-Infantile, Università di Trieste
2Clinica Pediatrica, IRCCS Pediatrico “Burlo Garofolo”, Università di Trieste
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Key words: Locus of Control, Coeliac disease, Epilepsy
Background - The psychological construct of Locus of Control (LoC) evaluates the degree to which an individual perceives events that happen to him as result of his own behaviour (internal LoC) or of luck, chance, powerful others (external LoC). In literature, chronic disease is associated to an external LoC, which leads to an unsatisfactory control of therapy.
Aims - To verify whether a group of coeliacs and a group of children with epilepsy show a more external LoC in comparison to healthy controls; to assess in the coeliac group whether an external LoC interferes with the compliance to gluten free diet (GFD) and quality of life (QL).
Methods - 101 coeliacs on GFD from at least 1 yr (age range 9-16 yrs), 20 children with idiopathic epilepsy in treatment (age range 9-16 yrs) and 316 healthy children (age range 9-16 yrs) were evaluated. All subjects were administrated tests on the Nowicki-Strickland LoC Scales (NSLS) to assess the degree of externality of LoC; coeliacs fill in also the Kindl Test, to measure compliance to GFD and QL.
Results - There is no difference in LoC scores between coeliac subjects, epileptic subjects and healthy controls (coeliac subjects 12.93±3.9 and epileptic subject 13.95±3.9 vs healthy subjects 13.45±4.25; p=ns). Coeliacs who consider to have a satisfactory QL, have a more internal LoC than coeliacs who believe their lives are negatively affected (p=0.002). Furthermore, coeliacs with a good compliance to GFD show a more internal LoC than coeliacs who are not compliant (p=0.01).
Conclusions - Unlike children affected by other chronic diseases, coeliacs and children with epilepsy do not have a more external LoC if compared to their healthy counterparts. Probably, this internality corresponds to high degree of personal responsibility for the treatment of the disease. Specific metacognitive trainings could improve internality, compliance to GFD and QL of coeliacs.
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