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Clinical Assessment of ASD in Adults Using Self and Other Report: Psychometric Properties and Validity of the Adult Social Behavior Questionnaire (ASBQ)

Thursday, 2 May 2013: 15:00
Chamber Hall (Kursaal Centre)
E. H. Horwitz1, R. A. Schoevers1, R. B. Minderaa2, D. Wiersma1 and C. A. Hartman3, (1)University Medical Center Groningen, Groningen, Netherlands, (2)University of Groningen and University Medical Center Groningen, Groningen, Netherlands, (3)University of Groningen, University Medical Center Groningen, Groningen, Netherlands

Psychometrically sound questionnaires measuring adult autism spectrum disorders (ASD) are scarce but much-needed for 1) epidemiological research, 2) measurement of subthreshold ASD problems, and for 3) profiling scores on different ASD problem domains in patients with a formal ASD diagnosis.


The aim of this study is to develop a multidimensional ASD questionnaire reflecting the heterogeneous nature of the disorder and the multiple problem domains that can be discerned. Our aim was further to measure both the patient’s perspective and that of an important other (a parent or a spouse) for a comprehensive picture of the ASD problems. Without compromising on psychometric quality, we additionally aimed for a brief questionnaire for practical usefulness.


We built on our previous work on the Children’s Social Behavior Questionnaire which we developed for children and adolescents (CSBQ; Hartman et al. 2006), formulating multiple adult (developmentally appropriate) equivalents of the CSBQ behaviors in a self-rating and other-rating version. A comprehensive item pool was subjected to principal component analysis. Items were selected with a factor loading >.3 on its main factor and a minimum difference of .2 with a possible secondary factor. These requirements had to apply to both the self- and other-report data.  Findings are based on 1143 self-report and 644 other-report questionnaires from 6 outpatient clinics in the Netherlands. Ratings of patients and their proxies from different diagnostic groups were compared to determine criterion validity.  


Principal Component Analyses yielded a, highly comparable, six factor structure in both the self- and other-report data. A total of 42 items (6-7 items per factor) fulfilled aforementioned criteria, 38 items being present in both versions and the remaining 3 items informant specific. The content of the subscales was similar to the subscales of the CSBQ. Internal consistency of the total and the subscales and correlations between self- and other-ratings were good. Score profiles from self- and other report for the ASD group differentiated from those from the other patient groups.


We developed a self- and other-report questionnaire of adult ASD problems which differentiates between the following domains: reduced contact, reduced empathy, reduced interpersonal insight, violation of social conventions, insistence of sameness, and sensory stimulation/motor stereotypies. The instrument, the Autism Social Behavior Questionnaire (ASBQ) is short, easy to apply, has satisfactory psychometric qualities and yields a score profile among these six problem domains both from the perspective of the patient and from someone close. Total score and score profile on the ASBQ differentiated a group with ASD from clinical control groups and yields a differentiated picture of this heterogeneous condition.

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