Utility of the Diagnostic Interview Schedule for Children for Assessing Tourette Syndrome in Children

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Objective: The Diagnostic Interview Schedule for Children IV (DISC) has been used extensively in research and screening. Despite wide use, little information exists on the validity of the DISC for diagnosing tic disorders.

Methods: Participants were 181 youth with expert clinician-diagnosed Tourette syndrome (TS).

Results: Using expert clinician-diagnosed TS as the gold standard, the sensitivity of the DISC-Y (youth, 0.27) and DISC-P (parent, 0.44) was poor. The DISC-Y identified 29.7% of youth with diagnosed TS whereas the DISC-P identified 47.4% of cases. Only 54% of cases of TS were detected by either the DISC-Y or -P. Diagnostic agreement between the DISC and expert clinician diagnosis was poor. The DISC-Y/P results did not differ as a function of tic severity.

Conclusions: Despite utility for assessing child psychiatric disorders, the sensitivity of the DISC for detecting TS appears poor. This study suggests that DISC has low agreement with expert clinician diagnosis of TS. Findings highlight the need for modification of the DISC and/or the identification and development of more sensitive measures for TS screening.

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Journal of Child and Adolescent Psychopharmacology, v. 24, issue 5, p. 275-284