Original Paper

Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders

, Volume 38, Issue 8, pp 1555-1566

First online:

Open Access This content is freely available online to anyone, anywhere at any time.

Factor Structure, Reliability and Criterion Validity of the Autism-Spectrum Quotient (AQ): A Study in Dutch Population and Patient Groups

  • Rosa A. HoekstraAffiliated withDepartment of Biological Psychology, Vrije UniversiteitAutism Research Centre, Department of Developmental Psychiatry, University of Cambridge Email author 
  • , Meike BartelsAffiliated withDepartment of Biological Psychology, Vrije Universiteit
  • , Danielle C. CathAffiliated withDepartment of Psychiatry, GGZ Buitenamstel
  • , Dorret I. BoomsmaAffiliated withDepartment of Biological Psychology, Vrije Universiteit


The factor structure of the Dutch translation of the Autism-Spectrum Quotient (AQ; a continuous, quantitative measure of autistic traits) was evaluated with confirmatory factor analyses in a large general population and student sample. The criterion validity of the AQ was examined in three matched patient groups (autism spectrum conditions (ASC), social anxiety disorder, and obsessive–compulsive disorder). A two factor model, consisting of a “Social interaction” factor and “Attention to detail” factor could be identified. The internal consistency and test–retest reliability of the AQ were satisfactory. High total AQ and factor scores were specific to ASC patients. Men scored higher than women and science students higher than non-science students. The Dutch translation of the AQ is a reliable instrument to assess autism spectrum conditions.


Autism Factor analysis Validity Reliability Autism phenotype