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Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry

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DOI: 10.1016/j.jaac.2021.08.022



To determine the long-term durability of behavior therapy for tics among youth with Tourette disorder and persistent (chronic) motor or vocal tic disorders.


Of the 126 youth who participated in a randomized controlled trial of behavior therapy 11 years prior, 80 were recruited for this longitudinal follow-up. Consenting participants were interviewed in person or remotely (Web-based video) by trained evaluators to determine the course of tics, current tic severity, and tic-related impairment. Recruitment and data collection occurred between 2014 and 2019, with an average follow-up duration of 11.2 years.


Treatment responders to both conditions in the original trial achieved partial, but not full, tic remission. Tic severity also decreased significantly across the sample, with 40% reporting partial remission. Behavior therapy responders (n = 21) in the original trial were more likely (67%) to achieve remission at follow-up (Total Tic Score = 12.52, SD = 10.75) compared to psychoeducation/supportive therapy responders (n = 6, 0%) at follow-up (Total Tic Score = 20.67, SD = 6.92) on the Yale Global Tic Severity Scale. Tic-related impairment decreased across the sample, with no significant differences between treatment groups or responders.


Despite limitations of unmeasured variables and veracity of self-report at follow-up, this study supports guidelines recommending behavior therapy as the first-line intervention for tics. Further investigation of behavior therapy as an early preventive intervention also merits attention.


Accepted version. Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, Vol. 61, No. 6 (June 2022): 764-771. DOI. © 2022 Elsevier. Used with permission.

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