Children with tics often experience accompanying problems that may have more impact on their well being and quality of life than the tics themselves. The present study investigates characteristics and the course of associated problems. In a population-based follow-up study, we investigated the developmental trajectory of children with and without tics when they were 7-9 years old. Parents and teachers completed the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire (SDQ) when the children were 7-9 years (wave 1) and 4 years later (wave 2). Using strict criteria, we identified 38 children with tics in the cohort of 4,025 children (0.94 % of the total cohort) with a preponderance of boys (78.9 %). 22 children (57.9 %) in the group with tics had only motor tics, and 16 (42.1 %) had both motor and vocal tics. Children with tics had significantly higher parent- and teacher-rated SDQ total difficulty scores and subscale scores in both waves. Children with tics experienced an increase in emotional problems and in peer problems between the first and the second wave. This study in a general population indicates that the presence of tics is associated with a range of internalizing and externalizing difficulties, as well as problems in peer relationships. Moreover, our study indicates that emotional and peer problems tend to increase over time in the group of children with tics.
European Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 2012, p. 185-92