Original Paper

Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders

, Volume 37, Issue 3, pp 523-536

Quantitative Assessment of Autism Symptom-related Traits in Probands and Parents: Broader Phenotype Autism Symptom Scale

  • Geraldine DawsonAffiliated withUniversity of Washington Autism Center and Department of Psychology, University of Washington Email author 
  • , Annette EstesAffiliated withUniversity of Washington Autism Center and Department of Psychology, University of WashingtonDepartment of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, University of Washington
  • , Jeffrey MunsonAffiliated withUniversity of Washington Autism Center and Department of Psychology, University of Washington
  • , Gerard SchellenbergAffiliated withVeterans Affairs Medical Center, Seattle; Departments of Medicine, Neurology and Pharmacology, University of Washington
  • , Raphael BernierAffiliated withUniversity of Washington Autism Center and Department of Psychology, University of Washington
  • , Robert AbbottAffiliated withDepartment of Educational Psychology, University of Washington

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Abstract

Autism susceptibility genes likely have effects on continuously distributed autism-related traits, yet few measures of such traits exist. The Broader Phenotype Autism Symptom Scale (BPASS), developed for use with affected children and family members, measures social motivation, social expressiveness, conversational skills, and flexibility. Based on 201 multiplex families, psychometric data on the BPASS are reported. Adequate inter-rater reliability and internal consistency were found. Parents had lower BPASS scores than affected children, after controlling for IQ. Parents and affected children showed overlapping distributions suggesting the BPASS captured variability in traits across groups. BPASS scores were not correlated with ethnicity or parent education; however, some domains were correlated with IQ. The BPASS holds promise as a quantitative phenotypic assessment for genetic studies.

Keywords

Broader phenotype Genetics Quantitative traits Autism