Impact of Tourette Syndrome: A preliminary investigation of the effects of disclosure on peer perceptions and social functioning


Individuals with Tourette Syndrome (TS) often experience social difficulties, which may be caused or compounded by others' negative perceptions of persons with the disorder. As a result, researchers and clinicians have called for the development of attitude change strategies. One such strategy is preventative disclosure, in which one informs others about his or her condition. To date, no known research exists exploring the effects of this type of disclosure with TS. In an attempt to examine the effects of TS disclosure, adults (N =369) read vignettes that varied in a 2 (male vs. female character) x 2 (preventative disclosure of disorder vs. nondisclosure) design. Respondents answered several questions regarding the character presented in the vignette, which when factor-analyzed, resulted in four factors (social rejection, attributions of a drug/alcohol problem, perceptions of psychological/medical problems, and general concern). The results of this preliminary study are promising, in that the data suggest that preventative disclosure of TS may reduce social rejection, minimize concern, and decrease perceptions of drug and alcohol problems. No effect of character gender was found. Implications of these findings, limitations to the current study, and directions for future research are discussed.

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