Comorbidities, social impact, and quality of life in tourette syndrome

Valsamma Eapen*, Andrea E. Cavanna, Mary M. Robertson

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Tourette syndrome (TS) is more than having motor and vocal tics, and this review will examine the varied comorbidities as well as the social impact and quality of life (QoL) in individuals with TS. The relationship between any individual and his/her environment is complex, and this is further exaggerated in the case of a person with TS. For example, tics may play a significant role in shaping the person's experiences, perceptions, and interactions with the environment. Furthermore, associated clinical features, comorbidities, and coexisting psychopathologies may compound or alter this relationship. In this regard, the common comorbidities include attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder and disruptive behaviors, obsessive compulsive disorder, and autism spectrum disorder, and coexistent problems include anxiety, depression, and low self-esteem, which can all lead to poorer psychosocial functioning and QoL. Thus, the symptoms of TS and the associated comorbid conditions may interact to result in a vicious cycle or a downward spiraling of negative experiences and poor QoL. The stigma and social maladjustment in TS and the social exclusion, bullying, and discrimination are considered to be caused in large part by misperceptions of the disorder by teachers, peers, and the wider community. Improved community and professional awareness about TS and related comorbidities and other psychopathologies as well as the provision of multidisciplinary services to meet the complex needs of this clinical population are critical. Future research to inform the risk and resilience factors for successful long-term outcomes is also warranted.

Original languageEnglish
Article number97
JournalFrontiers in Psychiatry
Issue numberJUN
Publication statusPublished - 6 Jun 2016

Bibliographical note

© 2016 Eapen, Cavanna and Robertson. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) or licensor are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.


  • Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder
  • Autism spectrum disorder
  • Comorbidity
  • Obsessive compulsive disorder
  • Psychopathology
  • Psychosocial
  • Quality of life
  • Tourette syndrome


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