Dr. Specht's current research focuses on evaluating co-occurring disorders as moderators of treatment outcome as well as developing and evaluating clinical algorithms for combining available empirically supported treatments for clinically complex patients.
Dr. Specht is interested in empirically-supported behavioral and cognitive behavioral treatments for Tourette’s and tic disorders as well as common comorbid psychiatric conditions (e.g., Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder [ADHD], Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder [OCD], and anxiety disorders). He has developed the Tic and Repetitive Behaviors Disorders Specialty Clinic within the Pediatric Medical Psychology Program. His research is focused on examining the means through which behavioral treatments result in sustained reductions in tic symptoms. He is the Principal Investigator of the Tourette Syndrome Association-funded Prolonged Tic Suppression and Habituation to the Premonitory Urge. He was involved with the Tourette Syndrome Association’s large-NIMH funded Comprehensive Behavioral Intervention for Tics (CBIT) study.
Specht, M.W., Woods, D., Piacentini, J., Scahill, L., Peterson, A., Chang, S., Walkup, J.T. (2011). Clinical characteristics of children and adolescents with a primary tic disorder. Journal of Developmental and Physical Disabilities.Volume 23, Number 1 (2011), 15-31, DOI: 10.1007/s10882-010-9223-z
Woods, D.W., Piacentini, J.C., Scahill, L., Peterson, A.L., Wilhelm, S., Chang, S., Specht, M.W., Walkup, J.T. (in press). Acute and Long-term Effects of Behavior Therapy for Tics on Secondary Psychiatric and Psychosocial Functioning. J Child Neurol July 2011 vol. 26 no. 7 858-865
Woods, D. W., Piacenti, J. C., Scahill, L., Peterson, A. L., Wilhelm, S., Chang, S., Specht, M…Walkup, J. T. (2011). Behavior therapy for tics in children: Acute and long-term effects on psychiatric and psychosocial functioning. Journal of Child Neurology, 26, 858-865.
Piacentini, J., Woods, D. W., Scahill, L., Wilhelm, S., Peterson, A. L., Chang, S., Walkup, J. T. (2010). Behavior therapy for children with Tourette Disorder: A randomized controlled trial. JAMA: Journal of the American Medical Association, 303, 1929-1937.
Specht, M.W., Pierce-Keeton, C.., Walkup, J.T. (2008). Childhood Disorders: Tic Disorders. In A. Tasman, J. Kay, J. Lieberman, M.B. First, & M. Maj (Eds.), Psychiatry 3rd edition. West Sussex, UK: John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.