Date of Submission


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Psychology (PsyD)



Department Chair

Robert A DiTomasso, PhD, ABPP


The present study attempted to identify predictors that would differentiate psychogenic non-epileptic seizures (PNES) from epilepsy, examine individual strength of predictors, and, in a separate analysis, examine the relationship between perceived stress and effort testing. A common experience that differentiates PNES patients from epilepsy patients is a traumatic experience, specifically childhood sexual abuse. The Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) scale has never been used to see if it differentiates PNES and epilepsy samples, despite its focus on abuse, neglect, and household dysfunction. The ACE was combined with other previously researched predictors. Results of the logistical regression were insignificant and the model was not able to accurately predict the two groups. A second analysis conducted through means of a point-biserial correlation failed to identify a relationship between perceived stress and performance on effort testing in a PNES sample. Both analyses were likely impacted by a lower than anticipated sample size. Future research should attempt to examine other possible predictors, such as the presence of functional somatic syndromes (fibromyalgia), substance abuse, and other measures of stress and worry.

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