81 Group interventions for children with tourette syndrome: a 12 month follow up study of a randomised controlled trial comparing comprehensive behavioural intervention and psycho-education

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Abstract

Background

Comprehensive Behavioural Intervention for Tics (CBIT) is a behavioural therapy with strong empirical support for its effects on tic severity when offered as an individual therapy1 and emerging evidence for its effectiveness in a group format.2 This study compared the long-term effects of CBIT and psycho-educational groups on tic severity, neuropsychological functioning, quality of life (QOL) and school attendance.

Method

This is a follow-up study to a single-blinded, randomised controlled trial. Twenty-eight children that completed either psycho-educational or CBIT group treatment took part in this 12 month follow-up. Participants had a mean age of 12.1 years and a diagnosis of either Tourette Syndrome (TS) or Chronic Tic Disorder. Outcomes included the YGTSS, direct video observation, neuropsychological functioning measures (response inhibition, cognitive flexibility and motor dexterity), the GTS-QOL and school attendance data.

Results

Both groups demonstrated long-term improvements in tic severity (p<0.001, ηp2 = 0.32), with continued improvement across the follow-up period (F(1,26) = 7.52, p=0.011, ηp2=0.22). Self-reported QOL also improved during the follow-up period (F(1,19) = 5.73, p=0.027, ηp2 = 0.23). The CBIT group demonstrated greater improvement in tic suppression ability (p=0.019, ηp2 = 0.146) and a correlation was found between QOL and tic suppression ability at follow-up (r=−0.517, p=0.008). Both groups improved in school attendance (p=0.004, ηp2 = 0.304).

Conclusion

Groups were associated with long-term improvements in tic severity, QOL and school attendance, offering support for the long-term acceptability of these group treatments for TS. The CBIT group showed a greater improvement in tic suppression ability over time and increased tic suppression ability was associated with improved quality of life, suggesting a relationship between self-reported QOL and a child’s sense of control over their tics through the use of behavioural strategies.

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