Efficacy of Parent-Delivered, Home-Based Therapy for Tics

Harvey S. Singer, Shelley McDermott, Lisa Ferenc, Mathew Specht, E. Mark Mahone

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Although behavioral therapy is an effective approach to reduce tics in children and adults, there is an insufficient availability and accessibility of behavioral therapy in the community. Objective: The goal of the study was to test the clinical efficacy of home-based, parent-provided behavioral therapy in children with Tourette syndrome aged seven to 13 years. Method: An instructional habit reversal training-based video and guide was developed for use by parents. Eligible families, in this 10-week study, were enrolled in either a home-based therapy (DVD) group (received disk and written instructions) or an in-person therapist group (had scheduled visits with the therapist). Outcome scales included the Yale Global Tic Severity Scale, both the total Tic Severity Score and total Global Severity Score, and the parent report of Clinical Global Impressions of Improvement. Results: Forty-four children (mean age = 10.21 ± 1.69 years) were enrolled into either the DVD (n = 33) or in-person therapist (n = 11) groups. Eighteen completed the study—eight in the DVD and 10 in the in-person therapist group. Outcome measures showed significant reductions in Yale Global Tic Severity Scale change ratios: mean improvement on the Tic Severity Score was DVD 32.4% (P < 0.001) and in-person therapist 26.6% (P = 0.01); and for the Global Severity Score, DVD 33.7% (P < 0.001) and in-person therapist 26.7% (P < 0.001). Conclusions: Home-based, parent-administered habit reversal training behavioral therapy is efficacious for reducing tics in children. Telephone contacts early in the DVD treatment course might reduce the number of dropouts.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)17-23
Number of pages7
JournalPediatric Neurology
StatePublished - May 2020


  • Behavioral treatment
  • CBIT
  • Parent-based therapy
  • Tics
  • Tourette syndrome

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Neurology
  • Developmental Neuroscience
  • Clinical Neurology

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