Youth with chronic tic disorders (CTD) experience social problems that have been associated with functional impairment and a diminished quality of life. Previous examinations have attributed social difficulties to either tic severity or the symptom severity of coexisting conditions, but have not directly explored performance deficits in social functioning. This report examined the presence and characteristics of social deficits in youth with CTD and explored the relationship between social deficits, social problems, and quality of life. Ninety-nine youth (8-17years) and their parents completed a battery of assessments to determine diagnoses, tic severity, severity of coexisting conditions, social responsiveness, and quality of life. Parents reported that youth with CTD had increased social deficits, with 19% reported to have severe social deficits. The magnitude of social deficits was more strongly associated with inattention, hyperactivity, and oppositionality than with tic severity. Social deficits predicted internalizing and social problems, and quality of life above and beyond tic severity. Social deficits partially mediated the relationship between tic severity and social problems, as well as tic severity and quality of life. Findings suggest that youth with CTD have social deficits, which are greater in the presence of attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder and obsessive compulsive disorder. These social deficits play an influential role in social problems and quality of life. Future research is needed to develop interventions to address social performance deficits among youth with CTD.
Published by Elsevier Inc.