International Meeting for Autism Research: The Association of the Social Responsiveness Scale (SRS) with Measures of Global Intelligence and Adaptive Functioning In the Assessment of Children with ASDs

The Association of the Social Responsiveness Scale (SRS) with Measures of Global Intelligence and Adaptive Functioning In the Assessment of Children with ASDs

Friday, May 13, 2011
Elizabeth Ballroom E-F and Lirenta Foyer Level 2 (Manchester Grand Hyatt)
3:00 PM
B. Gorka, C. Mader, B. Patel and N. Gjolaj, Autism Center, Children's Hospital of Michigan, Detroit, MI

The Social Responsiveness Scale (SRS), a parent-report screening measure of autistic traits in individuals between the ages of 4 and 18, has been widely used in both clinical and research settings to assess the degree of social impairments specific to Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASDs). Early studies of the measure revealed that the SRS total score was independent of global cognitive functioning.  However, there has been relatively little research that has examined the relationship of the SRS subscales to overall level of cognitive functioning.  Further, given the difficulties of reliable assessment of children with ASDs, evaluation of the relationship of the SRS subscales to an alternative measure of overall functioning may also be warranted.


The aim of the present study was to evaluate the relationship of global and specific intellectual indices and adaptive behavior functioning to the SRS subscales.


Diagnostic data retrieved from a sample of 117 children (24 females; 92 males) between the ages of 48 and 312 months (mean= 93.43 ; sd= 38.80) with diagnoses of ASDs were evaluated. Results from measures of cognitive functioning (Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children, Fourth Edition [WISC-IV], Wechsler Preschool and Primary Scale of Intelligence, Third Edition [WPPSI-III]), adaptive functioning (Vineland Adaptive Behavior Scales, Second Edition [Vineland-2]), and social responsiveness (SRS) were examined.  Pearson bivariate correlations were used to evaluate the magnitude of relationships between the SRS subdomains and intellectual indices and adaptive behavior domain scores.


Overall, results indicate that intelligence was independent of SRS subdomains. However, SRS scores were not independent of the Vineland-2. Total scores on the SRS were significantly correlated with Vineland-2 domains in the areas of Communication (r=-.471, p=.001), Socialization (r=-.634, p=.000), and the Adaptive Behavior Composite (r=-.516, p=.000). Additionally, SRS subscales were significantly inversely related to Vineland-2 domains in all areas with the exception of Motor Skills.  In particular, associations were observed between the Vineland-2 Communication composite and three SRS subscales (Social Communication r= - .416, p=.002; SRS Social Motivation r= -.540, p=.000; SRS Autistic Mannerisms r= - .332, p=.034). Daily Functioning Skills according to the Vineland-2 were found to be negatively associated with the SRS Motivation subscale (r= - .469, p=.000). Finally, the Socialization domain of the Vineland-2 was found to be inversely related to four domains of the SRS (Autistic Mannerisms r= -.569, p=.000; Social Cognition r= -321, p=.020; Social Communication r=-.552, p=.000; Social Motivation r= -.469, p=.000).


In conclusion, results support that the SRS total and subscales are independent of intellectual functioning.  The SRS subscales were not independent of the subdomain scores of the Vineland-2. These findings are promising, as adaptive skills have more potential for development and improvement than does general ability.  Future research will evaluate if the dependence observed is reliant upon learned adaptive skills in general or if particular aspects of social functioning, such as those assessed by the SRS, are preferred predictors for overall functioning in individuals who meet criteria for diagnoses of ASDs. Implications for adaptive skills intervention are discussed.

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