Tourette syndrome and comorbid conditions: a spectrum of different severities and complexities

J Child Neurol. 2014 Oct;29(10):1383-9. doi: 10.1177/0883073814534317. Epub 2014 May 14.


To investigate clinical correlates of Tourette syndrome and to identify the impact of comorbidities, we retrospectively recruited 92 young people affected by Tourette syndrome compared with 102 healthy controls. Neuropsychological assessment included: Youth Quality of Life-Research, Multidimensional Anxiety Scale for Children, Children's Depression Inventory, and Conner's and Child Behavior Checklist; moreover, Tourette syndrome patients completed the Yale Global Tic Severity Rating Scale and the Yale-Brown Obsessive Compulsive Scale. Four clinical subgroups were identified: pure Tourette syndrome (49.8%), Tourette syndrome plus attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) (22.2%), Tourette syndrome plus obsessive-compulsive disorder (21.5%), and Tourette syndrome plus ADHD plus obsessive-compulsive disorder (6.5%). Our findings suggested that emotional lability appeared in all Tourette syndrome subgroups, independently from comorbidities, representing a clinical feature of Tourette syndrome itself. Moreover, our data suggested that all 4 clinical subgroups had higher statistically significant behavioral problems compared with the healthy controls (P = .000), whereas affective and anxiety symptoms were overrepresented in Tourette syndrome plus comorbidities subgroups. Finally, Tourette syndrome patients had a lower quality of life compared with the healthy controls. These differences were statistically significant between the pure Tourette syndrome subgroups and Tourette syndrome plus comorbidities subgroups, as well as Tourette syndrome plus comorbidities subgroups and healthy controls.

Keywords: Tourette syndrome; attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder; emotional lability; obsessive-compulsive disorder; tic.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Anxiety
  • Attention Deficit Disorder with Hyperactivity / complications*
  • Attention Deficit Disorder with Hyperactivity / psychology*
  • Child
  • Comorbidity
  • Depression
  • Emotions
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Neuropsychological Tests
  • Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder / complications*
  • Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder / psychology*
  • Psychiatric Status Rating Scales
  • Quality of Life
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Tourette Syndrome / complications*
  • Tourette Syndrome / psychology*