Abstract

Background

Children with Tourette syndrome generally experience improvement of tics by age 18 years, but psychosocial and comorbidity outcomes at this age are unclear.

Aims

To compare psychosocial outcomes and lifetime comorbidity rates in older adolescents with Tourette syndrome and controls. We hypothesised a priori that individuals with Tourette syndrome would have lower Children’s Global Assessment Scale (CGAS) scores.

Method

A total of 65 individuals with Tourette syndrome, identified in childhood, and 65 matched community controls without tic or obsessive–compulsive disorder (OCD) symptoms were assessed around 18 years of age regarding psychosocial functioning and lifetime psychiatric disorders.

Results

Compared with controls, individuals with Tourette syndrome had substantially lower CGAS scores (P = 10–8) and higher rates of attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), major depression, learning disorder and conduct disorder (P≤0.01). In the participants with Tourette syndrome, poorer psychosocial outcomes were associated with greater ADHD, OCD and tic severity.

Conclusions

Clinically ascertained children with Tourette syndrome typically have impaired psychosocial functioning and high comorbidity rates in late adolescence.

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