Major and minor life events, personality and psychopathology in children with tourette syndrome

Netta Horesh, Sharona Shmuel-Baruch, Dan Farbstein, Daphna Ruhrman, Noa Ben Aroya Milshtein, Silvana Fennig, Alan Apter, Tamar Steinberg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Environmental, psychological, and biological interactions underlie many psychopathologies. Tourette's Syndrome (TS) has an obvious biological substrate but environmental factors and personality play substantial roles in its expression. We aimed to study the interrelationships between stressful life events, personality traits, tics, and comorbid disorders in children with TS. To this end, 132 children with TS and 49 healthy controls were recruited for the study. Major life events in the 12-months prior to testing and minor life events in the month prior to testing were retrospectively assessed using the Life Experiences Survey (LES) and the Brief Adolescent Life Events Scale (BALES), respectively. Personality was assessed with the Junior Temperament and Character Inventory (JTCI). Tics, obsessive compulsive symptoms, attention deficit and hyperactivity symptoms, anxiety, depression and aggression were assessed by self-report questionnaires and semi-structured interviews. We found that major life events correlated with the severity of tics expression and complexity, and comorbid psychopathology. Minor life events correlated with more severe symptomatology. High levels of harm avoidance were related to more obsessions, anxiety, and depression whereas high levels of self-directedness were protective. To conclude, TS expression in childhood should be understood as the result of an interaction between biological, personality and environmental factors.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-9
Number of pages9
JournalPsychiatry Research
StatePublished - Feb 2018

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Publisher Copyright:
© 2017


  • Life events
  • Personality
  • Tourette syndrome


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