School of Behavioral Sciences


Doctor of Philosophy in Psychology (PhD)


Laura Rolen


PANDAS, streptococcal infection, neuropsychiatric, autoimmune, remission


Medicine and Health Sciences | Psychology


Pediatric autoimmune neuropsychiatric disorder associated with streptococcal infection (PANDAS) starts as the child’s body has an inappropriate reaction to the immune response for streptococcal infection. PANDAS is characterized by the sudden onset of neuropsychiatric disorders, including obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), anxiety, chorea movements, and tics. Previous research has drawn conflicting conclusions on PANDAS treatment efficacy and long-term treatment outcomes leaving remission rates unclear. The purpose of this qualitative phenomenological case study was to explore parents’ perceptions of factors related to PANDAS remission. Parents of children diagnosed with PANDAS were recruited through Facebook PANDAS support groups and the National Institute of Mental Health Outreach Partnership Program Aspire PANS/PANDAS newsletter and followed a link to a Qualtrics survey containing 16 questions related to perception of remission. Inclusion criteria included diagnosis of PANDAS from a medical doctor and being the legal parent or guardian of the PANDAS patient. No significant relationship was found between presence of remission and age or symptom severity. The average length of time of illness before receiving PANDAS diagnosis and treatment was 23.75 months, but length of illness before treatment was not related to presence of remission. The greatest healing effect for PANDAS symptoms was antibiotics; however, 85% of children in remission still had symptoms. This study sets a foundation for future studies to explore why and how various treatments are more or less effective, serves as a starting point for future experimental studies on treatment methods, and serves as a roadmap for families with a PANDAS diagnosis.