A phenomenological investigation of women with Tourette or other chronic tic disorders

Adam B. Lewin*, Tanya K. Murphy, Eric A. Storch, Christine A. Conelea, Douglas W. Woods, Lawrence D. Scahill, Scott N. Compton, Samuel H. Zinner, Cathy L. Budman, John T. Walkup

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

39 Scopus citations


There are little data concerning clinical characteristics of women with Tourette disorder and chronic tic disorders in the extant literature and what is available mostly focuses on treatment-seeking individuals. The present research was conducted to provide a phenomenological characterization of tic disorders among 185 adult women with tic disorders. In addition to providing a descriptive overview of specific tic symptoms, tic severity, self-reported history of other psychiatric conditions, and impairment/lifestyle impact due to tics, this study compares 185 women and 275 men between 18 and 79 years old with tic disorders (who completed an identical battery of measures) based on demographic, social/economic status indicators, psychiatric variables (comorbidity, family psychiatric history, symptom presentation), adaptive functioning/quality of life, and impairment variables among a nonclinical adult sample. Finally, this research examines the relationship between tic severity and impairment indicators among women with tics. Sixty-eight percent of women in our sample reported severe motor tics and 40% reported severe phonic tics. Our exploratory data suggest that a sizeable number of adult women with persistent tics are suffering from psychiatric comorbidity and psychosocial consequences such as underachievement and social distress. Tic severity in women may be associated with lifestyle interference as well as with symptoms of depression and anxiety, and such symptoms may be more common among women with tics than in men with tics.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)525-534
Number of pages10
JournalComprehensive Psychiatry
Issue number5
StatePublished - Jul 2012

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Clinical Psychology


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