Although motor tics and/or vocal tics are the defining features of chronic tic disorder (CTD) and Tourette syndrome (TS), older youths and adults often report their tics to be preceded by an unpleasant sensation or "premonitory urge." While premonitory urge phenomena may play an important role in behavioral interventions for CTD/TS, standardized assessments for premonitory urges do not exist. The current study of 42 youths with TS or CTD presents initial psychometric data for a new, brief self-report scale designed to measure tic-related premonitory urges. Results showed that the Premonitory Urge for Tics Scale (PUTS) was internally consistent (α = .81) and temporally stable at 1 (r = 0.79, p < .01) and 2 (r = 0.86, p < .01) weeks. PUTS scores were also correlated with overall tic severity as measured by the Yale Global Tic Severity Scale (YGTSS; r = 0.31, p < .05) and the YGTSS number (r = 0.35, p < .05), complexity (r = 0.49, p < .01), and interference (r = 0.36, p < .05) subscales. Finally, an examination of the psychiatric correlates of the premonitory urge phenomenon yielded significant correlations between the PUTS and the Child Behavior Checklist (CBCL) anxiety/depression (r = 0.33, p < .05), and withdrawal (r = 0.38, p < .05) subscales as well as the Children's Yale-Brown Obsessive Compulsive Scale (CYBOCS; r = 0.31, p < .05). However, a cross-sectional examination of the data showed that the psychometric properties of the PUTS were not acceptable for youths 10 years of age and younger. Likewise, significant correlations found between the YGTSS subscales, CBCL subscales, CYBOCS, and the PUTS did not emerge in this younger age group. The clinical and theoretical implications of these findings are discussed.
1Department of Psychology, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
2Child OCD, Anxiety, and Tic Disorders Program, UCLA Neuropsychiatric Institute, Los Angeles, California
Received February 2005; accepted June 2005.
Address for reprints: Douglas W. Woods, Ph.D., Department of Psychology, Box 413, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Milwaukee, WI 53201; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.