Detecting a clinically meaningful change in tic severity in Tourette syndrome: A comparison of three methods

Sangchoon Jeon, John T. Walkup, Douglas W. Woods, Alan Peterson, John Piacentini, Sabine Wilhelm, Lily Katsovich, Joseph F. McGuire, James Dziura, Lawrence Scahill

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

108 Scopus citations


Objective: To compare three statistical strategies for classifying positive treatment response based on a dimensional measure (Yale Global Tic Severity Scale [YGTSS]) and a categorical measure (Clinical Global Impression-Improvement [CGI-I] scale). Method: Subjects (N. = 232; 69.4% male; ages 9-69. years) with Tourette syndrome or chronic tic disorder participated in one of two 10-week, randomized controlled trials comparing behavioral treatment to supportive therapy. The YGTSS and CGI-I were rated by clinicians blind to treatment assignment. We examined the percent reduction in the YGTSS-Total Tic Score (TTS) against Much Improved or Very Much Improved on the CGI-I, computed a signal detection analysis (SDA) and built a mixture model to classify dimensional response based on the change in the YGTSS-TTS. Results: A 25% decrease on the YGTSS-TTS predicted positive response on the CGI-I during the trial. The SDA showed that a 25% reduction in the YGTSS-TTS provided optimal sensitivity (87%) and specificity (84%) for predicting positive response. Using a mixture model without consideration of the CGI-I, the dimensional response was defined by 23% (or greater) reduction on the YGTSS-TTS. The odds ratio (OR) of positive response (OR. = 5.68, 95% CI. = [2.99, 10.78]) on the CGI-I for behavioral intervention was greater than the dimensional response (OR. = 2.86, 95% CI. = [1.65, 4.99]). Conclusion: A 25% reduction on the YGTSS-TTS is highly predictive of positive response by all three analytic methods. For trained raters, however, tic severity alone does not drive the classification of positive identifiers: NCT00218777; NCT00231985.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)414-420
Number of pages7
JournalContemporary Clinical Trials
Issue number2
StatePublished - Nov 2013


  • Clinical Global Impression
  • Cognitive behavioral intervention
  • Mixture model
  • Signal detection analysis
  • Tourette syndrome
  • Yale Global Tic Severity Scale

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology (medical)


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