International Meeting for Autism Research (London, May 15-17, 2008): Social responsiveness associated with psychopathology: a community-based study

Social responsiveness associated with psychopathology: a community-based study

Saturday, May 17, 2008
Champagne Terrace/Bordeaux (Novotel London West)
11:30 AM
S. Unal , Guzel gunler saglik hizmetleri, Istanbul, Turkey
C. Dedeoglu , Guzel gunler saglik hizmetleri, Istanbul, Turkey
B. Taskin , Guzel gunler saglik hizmetleri, Istanbul, Turkey
M. Y. Yazgan , Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Marmara Universitesi Tip Fakultesi, Istanbul, Turkey

While pervasive developmental disorders can present with symptoms commonly found in mood and anxiety disorders, children with varying degrees of impairment in social responsiveness may also display high on scales of psychopathology. 


Impairment of social responsivity, a core feature of autism, at varying degrees may be associated with psychopathology other than autism itself. Clinical scores on the Social Responsiveness Scale (SRS) were  proposed to provide a quantitative description (“socially impaired”) of this core feature. We compared the children with clinical and nonclinical scores on SRS in a community sample, on parent ratings of psychopathology, to investigate the association between social responsiveness and psychopathology.


The sample included 3892 students (age=10.6 ± 2.3 years; 53% males), 479 of who had been administered the same protocol two years before the current re-administration (age= 9.9,± 1.4 years; 51.1% males). Parents were asked to complete The Child Behavior Checklist (CBCL) and the Social Responsiveness Scales (SRS)     


In the logistic regression analysis, CBCL attention (Wald score χ2=5.5  p<.05), aggression 2=9.1 p<.01) and anxiety 2=12.7 p<.01) scores were significantly associated with having SRS scores in the ‘socially impaired range’. The socially impaired group had higher t scores on sub measures of CBCL  (total t(280)=17.47, p=.000, anxiety t(262)=13.90, p=.000, aggression t(299)=11.08, p=.000; attention t(259)=14.65, p=.000) when compared to the group with nonclinical SRS scores.


Social impairment on SRS may be associated with symptoms of mood, anxiety and aggression in a community based sample, suggesting that the impairment in social responsivity, which is a key feature of autism, may also be linked to regulatory disturbances even in the absence the manifest symptoms of autism. These symptoms should be sought during the evaluation for autism to increase the detection rate of those treatable symptoms.