Evaluating the rehability and Validity of a Videotaped Observation System for Tics Associated with Tourette Syndrome: A Cross -Condition, Multisite Investigation

Grant Type
Grant Year
Institution Location
Institution Organization Name
University of California
Investigators Name
Piacentini, John, PhD

To determine the effectiveness of any treatment for Tourette Syndrome (TS), often researchers must collaborate on large-scale studies involving many different sites across the country. However, to conduct cross-site studies, these researchers need a reliable and valid way of measuring improvement that will be consistent across the different sites. The primary purpose of this study is to establish a reliable and valid direct observation procedure for measuring the severity of TS symptoms in children that is consistent across observation sites. This research will develop and maintain cross-site (and test-retest) reliability through the use of expert consensus ratings, “gold-standard” criterion, videotapes, and real-time quality control procedures. If effective, this methodology will serve as the cornerstone of an assessment procedure for use in future multisite treatment studies for childhood TS. A total of 60 children between the ages of 8 and 17 will be recruited for participation in the study. Half of the participants will be studied at UCLA and half at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (UWM). Over a two-week period, three in-home and three clinic-based visits will be conducted for each participant to collect information about tic occurrence. All sessions will be videotaped and the videotapes will be scored to determine the level of tics in each child. The level of tics will be compared for home versus clinic observations and also across the two study sites (UCLA and UWM). In addition to the videotaped observations, child self-report, parent and clinician-completed interviews and rating scales will be administered to determine how informative such measures are when compared to videotapes of actual tic occurrence. This study has two additional goals. The first is to determine how reactive children’s tics are to being observed. Reactivity, or the likelihood that most children will have fewer tics when being watched, is a significant problem for researchers trying to assess improvement. Therefore, this study will observe children under both overt and covert recording conditions in order to estimate the magnitude of this problem. The second goal is to determine the optimal length of time needed to record tics for subsequent research scoring. To find this out, we will examine the reliability and validity of different scoring interval lengths (e.g., 2-min, 3-min, 5-min, 10-min). Taken together, the results of this study will be valuable in refining current observational assessment systems and developing a scientifically valid and state-of-the-art procedure for assessing childhood tics across multiple treatment sites. John Piacentini, Ph.D. Director, UCLA Child OCD, Anxiety & Tic Disorders Program Univ. of California, Los Angeles, CA Award: UCLA $26,890 Douglas W. Woods, Ph.D., Assist. Professor of Psychology Univ. of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, Milwaukee, WI Award: $26,096 Tourette Association of America Inc. – Research Grant Award 2002-2003