Premonitory urges are uncomfortable physical sensations preceding tics that occur in most individuals with a chronic tic disorder. The Premonitory Urge for Tics Scale (PUTS) is the most frequently used self-report measure to assess the severity of premonitory urges. We aimed to evaluate the psychometric properties of the PUTS in the largest sample size to date (n = 656), in children aged 3–16 years, from the baseline measurement of the longitudinal European Multicenter Tics in Children Study (EMTICS). Our psychometric evaluation was done in three age-groups: children aged 3–7 years (n = 103), children between 8 and 10 years (n = 253), and children aged 11–16 years (n = 300). The PUTS exhibited good internal reliability in children and adolescents, also under the age of 10, which is younger than previously thought. We observed significant but small correlations between the severity of urges and severity of tics and obsessive–compulsive symptoms, and between severity of urges and ratings of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder and internalizing and externalizing behaviors, however, only in children of 8–10 years. Consistent with previous results, the 10th item of the PUTS correlated less with the rest of the scale compared to the other items and, therefore, should not be used as part of the questionnaire. We found a two-factor structure of the PUTS in children of 11 years and older, distinguishing between sensory phenomena related to tics, and mental phenomena as often found in obsessive–compulsive disorder. The age-related differences observed in this study may indicate the need for the development of an age-specific questionnaire to assess premonitory urges.
Research Areas and Centers
- Academic Focus: Center for Brain, Behavior and Metabolism (CBBM)