The Differential Impact of Tourette’s Syndrome and Comorbid Diagnosis on the Quality of Life and Functioning of Diagnosed Children and Adolescents.


PROBLEM: Tourette’s syndrome (TS) is a neuropsychiatric disorder associated with adverse outcomes. High rates of comorbidity (80-90%) complicate presentation, yet the relationship among TS, common comorbid diagnoses, and adversity is not well understood. This research investigated the impact of comorbidity, and the discrete effects of common comorbid diagnoses, on quality of life (QoL) and functioning of youth with TS. METHODS: A community sample of parents of youth with TS (n = 86) participated in this survey-based study. Differences in QoL (Pediatric Quality of Life Inventory) and rates of psychological, behavioral, and social difficulties (Strength and Difficulties Questionnaire) reported for youth with or without comorbid disorder were determined, in addition to outcomes associated with individual disorders. FINDINGS: Parametric and nonparametric analyses revealed strong associations between comorbidity and decreased global QoL, impaired emotional and school functioning, and increased emotional symptomatology (p < .001). The impact of individual comorbid disorders was restricted and disorder specific, and TS was uniquely associated with impaired social functioning and peer relationship problems. CONCLUSIONS: Understanding the risks associated with TS, particularly to psychosocial well-being, and the specific risks accompanying individual comorbid disorders, may improve assessment, prioritization of treatment goals, and interventions targeting the individual, multidimensional needs of youth with TS.