Child Psychiatry & Human Development

, Volume 43, Issue 1, pp 124–136 | Cite as

Peer Victimization in Youth with Tourette Syndrome and Other Chronic Tic Disorders

  • Samuel H. ZinnerEmail author
  • Christine A. Conelea
  • Gwen M. Glew
  • Douglas W. Woods
  • Cathy L. Budman
Original Article


Chronic tic disorders including Tourette syndrome have negative impact across multiple functional domains. We explored associations between peer victimization status and tic subtypes, premonitory urges, internalizing symptoms, explosive outbursts, and quality of life among youth with chronic tic disorders, as part of the internet-based omnibus Tourette Syndrome Impact Survey. A mixed methods design combined child self-report and parental proxy-report (i.e., parent reporting on the child) demographic and quantitative data for affected youth ages 10–17 years addressing gender, mean age, ethnicity and other socioeconomic features, and presence of tic disorders and co-occurring psychiatric disorders. Peer “Victim” versus “Non-victim” status was determined using a subset of four questions about being bullied. “Victim” status was identified for those youth who endorsed the frequency of the occurrence of being bullied in one or more of the four questions as “most of the time” or “all of the time”. Data from 211 eligible youth respondents and their parents/guardians showed 26% reporting peer victimization. Victim status was associated with greater tic frequency, complexity and severity; explosive outbursts; internalizing symptoms; and lower quality of life. Peer victimization among youth with chronic tic disorders is common and appears associated with tic morbidity, anxiety, depression, explosive outbursts, and poorer psychosocial functioning. Anticipatory guidance, specific bullying screening and prevention, and further studies are indicated in this population.


Tourette syndrome Chronic tic disorder Bullying Peer victimization Quality of life 



Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder


Chronic tic disorders


Mood disorder


Obsessive compulsive disorder


Pediatric quality of life inventory


Parent tic questionnaire


Premonitory urge for tics scale


Rage attacks questionnaire


Spence children’s anxiety scale: child and parent


Short mood and feelings questionnaire


Tourette syndrome



The authors wish to thank the national Tourette Syndrome Association, Inc. for its assistance in participant recruitment for this project; and, Ms. Joanna Witkin for her administrative assistance for preparation of this manuscript.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Samuel H. Zinner
    • 1
    Email author
  • Christine A. Conelea
    • 2
  • Gwen M. Glew
    • 1
  • Douglas W. Woods
    • 3
  • Cathy L. Budman
    • 4
  1. 1.Department of PediatricsUniversity of Washington School of Medicine, CHDDSeattleUSA
  2. 2.Department of Psychiatry and Human BehaviorBrown University, Rhode Island HospitalProvidenceUSA
  3. 3.Department of PsychologyUniversity of WisconsinMilwaukeeUSA
  4. 4.Department of PsychiatryHofstra University School of MedicineManhassetUSA

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