Aims Quality of life (QoL) may be adversely affected by Tourette syndrome (TS). Although the core symptoms of this complex neurodevelopmental disorder are tics, patients often present with an array of behavioural difficulties, such as co-morbid obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). We investigated whether young people with TS exhibited poorer QoL in comparison to healthy individuals and an epilepsy control group. We also analysed the impact of co-morbid OCD and\or ADHD on perceived QoL.
Methods Participants comprised a total of 202 young people (138 male), aged 10–17 years (mean 12.91, SD 1.86) forming three groups: 50 young people with TS (44 males; mean age 13.26 years; SD 2.32); 50 controls with epilepsy (26 males; mean age 12.16 years; SD 1.39 years), and 102 neurologically intact healthy controls (68 males; mean age 13.11 years; SD 1.71 years). The Youth Quality of Life Instrument-Research Version (Edwards et al, 2002) was used to assess QoL and a range of clinical scales were administered to assess anxiety, depression and other behavioural symptoms.
Results TS was associated with significant differences in aspects of QoL related to home and social activities, involving peer and family interaction. Patients with more severe tics reported a greater negative impact on QoL. Patients with TS and no associated diagnoses (“pure TS”) presented with lower QoL scores in the environment domain, poorer perceived QoL in general, and depressive features. Co-morbid OCD appeared to exert a greater impact on self and relationship QoL domains. The presence of both OCD and ADHD as co-morbidities led to more widespread problems.
Conclusions TS can be associated with poorer perceived QoL. Although social aspects of QoL may be more vulnerable to TS in general, co-morbid conditions make an important contribution in determining which aspects of QoL are most affected in the individual.