Urge Intolerance and Impairment Among Youth with Tourette’s and Chronic Tic Disorders

Kesley A. Ramsey, Joey K.Y. Essoe, Eric A. Storch, Adam B. Lewin, Tanya K. Murphy, Joseph F. McGuire

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Individuals with Tourette’s Disorder and Persistent Tic Disorders (TD) often experience premonitory urges—aversive sensations that precede tics and are relieved by tic expression. Given its role in the neurobehavioral model of TD, understanding factors that influence premonitory urges and associated relief can advance understanding of urge phenomenology and optimize treatments for individuals with TD. This study examined whether the novel construct of urge intolerance—difficulty tolerating premonitory urges—predicted tic severity and tic-related disability. Participants included 75 youth with TD and their caregivers. Assessments characterized tic severity, premonitory urge, distress tolerance, internalizing symptoms, and tic-related disability. Structural equation modeling revealed that higher levels of urge intolerance predicted greater levels of tic-related disability. Furthermore, the relationship between urge intolerance and tic-related disability was more robust for youth with clinically-elevated levels of internalizing symptoms. While further investigation is needed, urge intolerance represents a promising treatment target to improve tic-related disability in youth with TD.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)761-771
Number of pages11
JournalChild Psychiatry and Human Development
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 2021


  • Disability
  • Distress tolerance
  • Premonitory urge
  • Tourette’s syndrome

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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