Date of Award
Master of Science (MS)
Persistent Tic Disorder and Tourette Disorder are neuropsychiatric conditions characterized by motor and or/ vocal tics. Treatment surrounding tics involve pharmaceutical or behavior therapy. Individuals seeking behavior therapy receive habit reversal training (HRT) or comprehensive behavioral intervention for tics (CBIT). Much research demonstrates the efficacy of HRT and CBIT, however, as these treatments often teach effective tic suppression skills, it may be useful to better understand the behavioral contingencies that most effectively lead to suppression. This research aims to compare different schedules of reinforcement on tic suppression. Two individuals diagnosed with Tourette’s Disorder, ages 9-14, participated in this study. A multielement treatment design was used to compare three conditions, baseline (BL), immediate differential reinforcement of zero rate behavior (DRO-10s), and delayed differential reinforcement of zero rate behavior (delayed DRO). Tic frequencies were significantly higher during BL conditions compared to DRO-10s and delayed DRO across participants. Although DRO-10s and delayed DRO demonstrated robust decrease in tic frequency, the results between DRO conditions were undifferentiated. Self-reported urge to tic ratings decreased from pre-sessions rating in baseline sessions and increased following both DRO conditions. Only one participant reported a slight increase in urge to tic ratings following the initial baseline and one participant reported no change in self-reported urge to tic ratings in DRO10s condition. Urges precede tics were reported to be aversive, and while best practices would not recommend utilizing DRO procedures as a method to produce tic suppression, both participants' one trial preference assessment implies a general reinforcing value for suppressing tics.