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Exploring the Nature of Anxiety in Children and Adolescents with and without Tic Disorder

Posted on 5 February 2024 by Pippa McClounan


A summary of a recent research study supported by TA

Thanks to the engagement of the TS Community, studies like the following are made possible. We're keen on sharing the insights from these research endeavors to showcase the advantages of participation. Please continue reading for a synopsis of 'Exploring the Nature of Anxiety in Children and Adolescents with and without Tic Disorder'.


A lay summary of a research study conducted by the University of Hertfordshire


A lay summary of one of the research studies conducted by Shanique Shakespeare as part of her MSc in Clinical Research Methods in Psychology.

An online study was carried out to investigate the relationship between sensory difficulties, repetitive behaviours and anxiety in tic disorders. Fifty parents completed a series of online standardised questionnaires.  Twenty-Five children diagnosed with Tourette Syndrome (TS) or a Persistent Tic Disorder (PTD) (aged 3–14) and 25 age and gender matched controls.

Youths with a tic disorder had significantly greater anxiety than those without a tic disorder. Showing significant higher parent ratings across the following scales (Panic Attack; Separation Anxiety; Obsessive Compulsive; Social Phobia; Generalised anxiety).

Youth with a tic disorder also showed significant higher sensory behaviours across all sensory domains (Tactile Sensitivity; Taste/Smell Sensitivity; Movement Sensitivity; Under responsive; Auditory Filtering; Visual/Auditory Sensitivity). There were no differences in number of repetitive behaviours.

Higher levels of Sensory sensitivity (those who were more reactive to sensory information in their environment), and repetitive behaviours were predictors of anxiety in young males both with and without a tic disorder, but not for the females.

We are currently preparing a short report on the data.  Given, the results provide further evidence that children and adolescents with tic disorders experience more anxiety than age matched peers, similar to other studies it emphasises the importance of treating anxiety in tic disorders.

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