Individuals with Tourette syndrome (TS) often display comorbid symptoms of attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), as well as externalizing and internalizing behaviors. This study was aimed to examine the impacts of tic severity, ADHD symptoms, and OCD on internalizing (e.g., anxiety) and externalizing (e.g., aggression) psychopathology.
Using linear regressions, we examined how tics, ADHD, and OCD symptoms predicted the externalization and internalization behaviors measured by the Child Behavior Checklist in a clinical sample of children and adolescents with TS. In addition, Child Behavior Checklist scales were compared among children with TS without ADHD, TS and ADHD, ADHD without TS, and unaffected control group.
In the TS group, externalizing behaviors were predicted by tic severity, inattention, and hyperactivity/impulsivity but not by OCD symptoms, whereas internalizing behaviors were predicted by inattention and OCD symptoms but not by tic severity or hyperactivity/impulsivity. Comparison among different clinical groups revealed main effects of TS and ADHD on both externalizing and internalizing behaviors.
These findings suggest that tics, ADHD, and OCD symptoms differentially explain the variance in externalizing and internalizing behavioral problems in individuals with TS. In addition, the data support the notion that TS is itself a risk factor for behavioral problems, mandating that children with TS even without ADHD and OCD still need to be assessed and treated for psychopathology.
From the Neuropediatric Unit, Shaare Zedek Medical Center, Jerusalem, Israel.
Received November 2008; accepted July 2009.
Address for reprints: Yehuda Pollak, PhD, Neuropediatric Unit, Shaare Zedek Medical Center, Jerusalem, Israel; e-mail: email@example.com.