A Randomized Waitlist-controlled Pilot Trial of Voice Over Internet Protocol-delivered Behavior Therapy for Youth with Chronic Tic Disorders

Document Type




Format of Original

10 p.

Publication Date



SAGE Publications

Source Publication

Journal of Telemedicine and Telecare

Source ISSN




Comprehensive Behavioral Intervention for Tics (CBIT) has been shown to be efficacious for chronic tic disorders (CTDs), but utilization is limited by a lack of treatment providers and perceived financial and time burden of commuting to treatment. A promising alternative to in-person delivery is voice over Internet protocol (VoIP), allowing for remote, real-time treatment delivery to patients’ homes. However, little is known about the effectiveness of VoIP for CTDs. Therefore, the present study examined the preliminary efficacy, feasibility, and acceptability of VoIP-delivered CBIT (CBIT-VoIP).


Twenty youth (8–16 years) with CTDs participated in a randomized, waitlist-controlled pilot trial of CBIT-VoIP. The main outcome was pre- to post-treatment change in clinician-rated tic severity (Yale Global Tic Severity Scale). The secondary outcome was clinical responder rate (Clinical Global Impressions – Improvement Scale), assessed using ratings of ‘very much improved’ or ‘much improved’ indicating positive treatment response.


Intention-to-treat analyses with the last observation carried forward were performed. At post-treatment (10-weeks), significantly greater reductions in clinician-rated, (F(1,18) = 3.05, p < 0.05, partial η2 = 0.15), and parent-reported tic severity, (F(1,18) = 6.37, p < 0.05, partial η2 = 0.26) were found in CBIT-VoIP relative to waitlist. One-third (n = 4) of those in CBIT-VoIP were considered treatment responders. Treatment satisfaction and therapeutic alliance were high.


CBIT can be delivered via VoIP with high patient satisfaction, using accessible, low-cost equipment. CBIT-VoIP was generally feasible to implement, with some audio and visual challenges. Modifications to enhance treatment delivery are suggested.


Journal of Telemedicine and Telecare, Vol. 22, No. 3 (April 2016): 153-162. DOI.