Anxiety Symptoms Differ in Youth With and Without Tic Disorders


We compared anxiety symptoms in youth with and without tic disorders by comparing scores on the Multidimensional Anxiety Scale for Children (MASC) in youth with tic disorders to those in a concurrent community control group and in a group of treatment-seeking anxious youth from the Child/Adolescent Anxiety Multimodal Study (CAMS). Data from 176 youth with tic disorders, 93 control subjects, and 488 CAMS participants were included. Compared to youth with tic disorders, controls had lower total MASC scores (p < 0.0001) and CAMS participants had similar total MASC scores (p = 0.13). Separation Anxiety (p = 0.0003) and Physical Symptom (p < 0.0001) subscale scores were higher in youth with tic disorders than in CAMS participants. We conclude that the anxiety symptom profile differs in youth with and without tic disorders, which may have important implications for targeting treatment of anxiety in youth with tic disorders.

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The authors thank the families who participated in these studies and the local chapters of the Tourette Association of America for their support in outreach to potential participants. We also acknowledge the contributions of Dr. Rebecca Bitsko, PhD, Centers for Disease Control, in intellectual contributions. This study was supported by the CDC Cooperative Agreements (#U01DD000509 [to TKM] and #U01DD00510 [to JWM].

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Correspondence to Jennifer Vermilion.

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Vermilion, J., Pedraza, C., Augustine, E.F. et al. Anxiety Symptoms Differ in Youth With and Without Tic Disorders. Child Psychiatry Hum Dev 52, 301–310 (2021).

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  • Tics
  • Tourette
  • Anxiety
  • Separation anxiety