BACKGROUND: Psychogenic non epileptic seizures (PNES) are characterized by repeated seizures that are typically caused by stress and psychologic problems such as anxiety and depression. This contrasts with epileptic seizures (ES), which are transient and caused by irregular excitement of nerve cells. PNES can be found in patients with ES, but due to their differing etiologies, it is important to determine the psychologic characteristics that differentiate PNES from ES. METHODS: This study identified psychopathologic and personality traits in 137 patients with PNES (n=7, 49.3% female) or ES (n=0, 35.7% female) using MMPI. The diagnosis was based on a medical history of seizures and the clinical examination in patients who visited the epilepsy clinic. Statistical analyses for comparing MMPI differences between the two groups were conducted using the t-test, chi-square test, and analysis of covariance. RESULTS: We analyzed the frequency of individuals who exhibited a T score of ≥5 on the MMPI, and the results indicated that there were significantly more patients in the PNES group than in the ES group who had elevated scores on the hypochondriasis (Hs) scale and hysteria (Hy) scale. The mean scores of Hs, Hy, paranoia scale and schizophrenia scale were significantly higher in the PNES group than in the ES group. CONCLUSIONS: These results suggest that patients with PNES have greater psychologic problems than ES patients. Differences in MMPI profile patterns between patients with PNES and ES may be helpful in tailoring appropriate therapeutic interventions for the two groups.