, Volume 33, Issue 5, pp 509-517

The Friendship Questionnaire: An Investigation of Adults with Asperger Syndrome or High-Functioning Autism, and Normal Sex Differences

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Abstract

Friendship is an important part of normal social functioning, yet there are precious few instruments for measuring individual differences in this domain. In this article, we report a new selfreport questionnaire, the Friendship Questionnaire (FQ), for use with adults of normal intelligence. A high score on the FQ is achieved by the respondent reporting that they enjoy close, empathic, supportive, caring friendships that are important to them; that they like and are interested in people; and that they enjoy interacting with others for its own sake. The FQ has a maximum score of 135 and a minimum of zero. In Study 1, we carried out a study of n = 76 (27 males and 49 females) adults from a general population, to test for previously reported sex differences in friendships. This confirmed that women scored significantly higher than men. In Study 2, we employed the FQ with n = 68 adults (51 males, 17 females) with Asperger Syndrome or high-functioning autism to test the theory that autism is an extreme form of the male brain. The adults with Asperger Syndrome or high-functioning autism scored significantly lower on the FQ than both the male and female controls from Study 1. The FQ thus reveals both a sex difference in the style of friendship in the general population, and provides support for the extreme male brain theory of autism.