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Patterns and Predictors of Tic Suppressibility in Youth With Tic Disorders.

Abstract

Tic suppression is the primary target of tic disorder treatment, but factors that influence voluntary tic inhibition are not well understood. Several studies using the Tic Suppression Task have demonstrated significant inter-individual variability in tic suppressibility but have individually been underpowered to address correlates of tic suppression. The present study explored patterns and clinical correlates of reward-enhanced tic suppression in youth with tic disorders using a large, pooled dataset. Individual-level data from nine studies using the Tic Suppression Task were pooled, yielding a sample of 99 youth with tic disorders. Analyses examined patterns of tic suppressibility and the relationship between tic suppressibility and demographic and clinical characteristics. A large majority of youth demonstrated a high degree of tic suppression, but heterogeneous patterns of tic suppressibility were also observed. Better tic suppressibility was related to older age and more frequent tics but unrelated to other clinical variables, including presence of psychiatric comorbidity, psychotropic medication status, tic and premonitory urge severity, and self-rated tic suppressibility. The mechanisms underlying the observed heterogeneity in reward-enhanced tic suppressibility warrant further investigation. The Tic Suppression Task is a promising method for testing mechanistic hypotheses related to tic suppression.

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