Clinical phenomenology of episodic rage in children with Tourette syndrome

J Psychosom Res. 2003 Jul;55(1):59-65. doi: 10.1016/s0022-3999(02)00584-6.


Objective: Episodic rage of unknown etiology causes significant morbidity in children with Tourette's syndrome (TS). Using modified Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV) criteria for intermittent explosive disorder (IED), we developed a screen and symptom questionnaire to explore rage attack phenomenology and to preliminarily investigate whether symptom clusters can identify clinical subgroups of TS children with rage attacks.

Methods: 48 children with TS between ages 7 and 17 years consecutively presenting with rage attacks completed the Rage Attacks Screen and Questionnaire. Data was subjected to factor analysis. Cluster analytic procedures were used to identify clinical subgroups.

Results: Final cluster solution revealed four homogeneous subgroups of TS children with rage who were differentiated by predominant clinical characteristics: specific urge resolution, environmentally secure reactivity, nonspecific urge resolution or labile nonresolving.

Conclusion: Episodic rage in TS has stereotypic features, but diverse and complex etiologies. Identifying particular symptom clusters may facilitate improved treatment strategies.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Aggression
  • Child
  • Cluster Analysis
  • Disruptive, Impulse Control, and Conduct Disorders / diagnosis*
  • Disruptive, Impulse Control, and Conduct Disorders / psychology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Rage*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Tourette Syndrome / diagnosis*
  • Tourette Syndrome / psychology