The efficacy of habit reversal therapy for tics, habit disorders, and stuttering: a meta-analytic review

Clin Psychol Rev. 2011 Jul;31(5):865-71. doi: 10.1016/j.cpr.2011.03.013. Epub 2011 Apr 5.


A meta-analysis based on 575 participants in 18 studies found Habit Reversal Therapy (HRT) to be an efficacious intervention for a wide variety of maladaptive repetitive behaviors, including stuttering, tics, nail biting, temporomandibular disorder, thumb sucking, and mixed repetitive oral-digital habits. Compared to control conditions, HRT showed a large effect size pre-treatment to final post-treatment assessment, d=0.80. Moderator analyses revealed significant treatment effects for HRT for most moderator levels, indicating that HRT is efficacious in a number of variations for a variety of types of maladaptive behaviors, across a wide range of sample characteristics. The findings provide substantial support for the efficacy of HRT for disorders it is commonly used to treat. The findings are consistent with recent arguments for the classification of HRT as a well-established treatment for tic and habit disorders.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Behavior Therapy*
  • Compulsive Behavior / therapy*
  • Humans
  • Stuttering / therapy*
  • Tics / therapy*
  • Treatment Outcome