Behavior therapy for tics in children: acute and long-term effects on psychiatric and psychosocial functioning

J Child Neurol. 2011 Jul;26(7):858-65. doi: 10.1177/0883073810397046. Epub 2011 May 9.


Children (n = 126) ages 9 to 17 years with chronic tic or Tourette disorder were randomly assigned to receive either behavior therapy or a control treatment over 10 weeks. This study examined acute effects of behavior therapy on secondary psychiatric symptoms and psychosocial functioning and long-term effects on these measures for behavior therapy responders only. Baseline and end point assessments conducted by a masked independent evaluator assessed several secondary psychiatric symptoms and measures of psychosocial functioning. Responders to behavior therapy at the end of the acute phase were reassessed at 3-month and 6-month follow-up. Children in the behavior therapy and control conditions did not differentially improve on secondary psychiatric or psychosocial outcome measures at the end of the acute phase. At 6-month posttreatment, positive response to behavior therapy was associated with decreased anxiety, disruptive behavior, and family strain and improved social functioning. Behavior therapy is a tic-specific treatment for children with tic disorders.

Trial registration: NCT00218777.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Behavior Therapy / methods*
  • Child
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mental Disorders / etiology
  • Mental Disorders / psychology*
  • Mental Disorders / therapy*
  • Psychology
  • Social Behavior Disorders / etiology
  • Social Behavior Disorders / psychology
  • Social Behavior Disorders / therapy
  • Tic Disorders / complications
  • Tic Disorders / psychology
  • Tic Disorders / therapy
  • Time
  • Tourette Syndrome / complications
  • Tourette Syndrome / psychology*
  • Tourette Syndrome / therapy*
  • Treatment Outcome

Associated data