The premonitory urge to tic: Measurement, characteristics, and correlates in older adolescents and adults

Hannah E. Reese*, Lawrence Scahill, Alan L. Peterson, Katherine Crowe, Douglas W. Woods, John Piacentini, John T. Walkup, Sabine Wilhelm

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

83 Scopus citations


In addition to motor and/or vocal tics, many individuals with Tourette syndrome (TS) or chronic tic disorder (CTD) report frequent, uncomfortable sensory phenomena that immediately precede the tics. To date, examination of these premonitory sensations or urges has been limited by inconsistent assessment tools. In this paper, we examine the psychometric properties of a nine-item self-report measure, the Premonitory Urge to Tic Scale (PUTS) and examine the characteristics and correlates of the premonitory urge to tic in a clinical sample of 122 older adolescents and adults with TS or CTD. The PUTS demonstrated adequate internal consistency, temporal stability, and concurrent validity. Premonitory urges were endorsed by the majority of individuals. Most individuals reported some relief from the urges after completing a tic and being able to stop their tics even if only temporarily. Degree of premonitory urges was not significantly correlated with age, and we did not observe any gender differences. Degree of premonitory urges was significantly correlated with estimated IQ and tic severity, but not severity of comorbid obsessive-compulsive disorder or attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder. Also, it was not related to concomitant medication status. These findings represent another step forward in our understanding of the premonitory sensations associated with TS and CTD.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)177-186
Number of pages10
JournalBehavior Therapy
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 2014


  • Adults
  • Chronic tic disorder
  • Older adolescents
  • Premonitory urge
  • Tourette syndrome

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology


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