Linkage Between Autism-Spectrum Quotient (AQ) of Parents and Autism Severity of Their Children with Autism: An Italian Experience in the Field of the Broader Autism Phenotype

Thursday, May 12, 2016: 11:30 AM-1:30 PM
Hall A (Baltimore Convention Center)
A. Narzisi1, M. Pinzino2, S. Calderoni3, G. Scarselli4, J. Barsotti4, R. Tancredi5 and F. Muratori6, (1)IRCCS Stella Maris Institute, Pisa, PI, Italy, (2)University of Pisa, Calambrone, Italy, (3)Magnetic Resonance Laboratory, Division of Child Neurology and Psychiatry University of Pisa; Stella Maris Scientific Institute, Pisa, Italy, (4)IRCCS Stella Maris, Calambrone, Italy, (5)University of Pisa – Stella Maris Scientific Institute, Pisa, Italy, (6)IRCCS Stella Maris Institute, Pisa, Italy
Background:  Features of the Broad Autism Phenotype (BAP) are disproportionately prevalent in parents of a child with autism, highlighting familial patterns indicative of heritability.

Objectives:  The main aim of this research was to identify phenotypes in mothers and fathers that are specifically associated with disturbances in social affect and repetitive behaviours in their young children (age range 4-11 yrs) with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) in an Italian sample.

Methods:  Autistic traits in parents were evaluated using the italian version of the Autism-spectrum Quotient (AQ), in 42 parents (21 mothers and corresponding fathers) of children with ASD and in a sample of parents (mothers and fathers) of typically developing (TD) children. For the measurement of autistim severity in children we employed the ADOS-2, for autism quotient we used AQ-Child. For the measurement of IQ, in children, we employed the Wechsler scales. With typically developing (TD) children we used also AQ-Child.

Results:  In the five AQ subscales the parents (mother and father) of ASD children scored significantly higher than did the parents of TD children. In addition, in mothers of ASD children, there were significant positive correlations between the five AQ subscales and AQ-Child subscales and ADOS-2-calibrated severity score in their children. In ASD children IQ was not correlated with AQ-Child and with AQ of parents.  

Conclusions:  This study demonstrate that some autistic traits in parents (above all mothers) are specifically associated with disturbances in the social impairments of their young children with ASD, as measured by the AQ-Child and ados-2 calibrated severity score. Further study are necessary to confirm these preliminary results .