Neurocognitive correlates of treatment response in children with Tourette's Disorder

Susanna W. Chang*, Joseph F. McGuire, John T. Walkup, Douglas W. Woods, Lawrence Scahill, Sabine Wilhelm, Alan L. Peterson, James Dziura, John Piacentini

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


This paper examined neurocognitive functioning and its relationship to behavior treatment response among youth with Tourette's Disorder (TD) in a large randomized controlled trial. Participants diagnosed with TD completed a brief neurocognitive battery assessing inhibitory functions, working memory, and habit learning pre- and post-treatment with behavior therapy (CBIT, Comprehensive Behavioral Intervention for Tics) or psychoeducation plus supportive therapy (PST). At baseline, youth with tics and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) exhibited some evidence of impaired working memory and simple motor inhibition relative to youth with tics without ADHD. Additionally, a small negative association was found between antipsychotic medications and youth's performance speed. Across treatment groups, greater baseline working memory and aspects of inhibitory functioning were associated with a positive treatment response; no between-group differences in neurocognitive functioning at post-treatment were identified. Within the behavior therapy group, pre-treatment neurocognitive status did not predict outcome, nor was behavior therapy associated significant change in neurocognitive functioning post-treatment. Findings suggest that co-occurring ADHD is associated with some impairments in neurocognitive functioning in youth with Tourette's Disorder. While neurocognitive predictors of behavior therapy were not found, participants who received behavior therapy exhibited significantly reduced tic severity without diminished cognitive functioning.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)464-472
Number of pages9
JournalPsychiatry Research
StatePublished - Mar 2018


  • ADHD
  • Behavior therapy
  • Comorbidity
  • Neurocognition
  • Tourette
  • Youth

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Biological Psychiatry


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