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

Douglas W. Woods, John C. Piacentini, Lawrence Scahill, Alan L. Peterson, Sabine Wilhelm, Susanna Chang, Thilo Deckersbach, Joseph McGuire, Matt Specht, Christine A Conelea, Michelle Rozenman, James Dzuria, Haibei Liu, Sue Levi-Pearl, John T. Walkup

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45 Scopus citations


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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)858-865
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Child Neurology
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2011

Bibliographical note

Copyright 2012 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.


  • Tourette disorder
  • behavior therapy
  • secondary outcomes
  • tics


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