Association of Tic Disorders with Poor Academic Performance in Central Spain: A Population-Based Study

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Abstract

Objective

To analyze the association between tic disorders and poor academic performance in school-aged children.

Study design

This was a cross-sectional, observational study conducted in a randomly selected sample of mainstream school-aged children (aged 6-16 years). The sampling frame included different types of schools and educational levels. Children with poor academic performance (eg, repeating a grade, special needs), and tic disorders (defined based on Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 4th Edition, Text Revision criteria) were identified. Children with and without tics and children with and without poor academic performance were compared in terms of clinical features (ie, medical history and neurologic and psychiatric comorbidities), school, and environmental characteristics. Logistic regression analyses were performed using school performance (dependent variable) and tic disorders (independent variable), after adjusting for confounding variables.

Results

The study cohort comprised 1867 children (mean age, 10.9 + 2.9 years; 1007 males [53.9%]). Tics were present in 162 children (8.6%), and poor academic performance was noted in 223 (11.9%). Overall poor academic performance was associated with age (OR, 1.71; P < .0001), television viewing (OR, 5.33; P = .04), attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (OR, 1.38; P < .0001), and family history of school dysfunction (OR, 2.43; P = .02) and was negatively associated with higher IQ score (OR, 0.90; P < .0001) and tic disorders (OR, 0.29; P = .01).

Conclusion

After adjusting for other covariates, the presence of tic disorders was not associated with poor academic performance in our cohort. Early academic support and modification of environmental characteristics are needed for children at higher risk for school dysfunction, to enhance academic performance.

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