Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders

, 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

  • Simon Baron-Cohen
  • Sally Wheelwright

DOI: 10.1023/A:1025879411971

Cite this article as:
Baron-Cohen, S. & Wheelwright, S. J Autism Dev Disord (2003) 33: 509. doi:10.1023/A:1025879411971


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.

Empathyhigh-functioning autismAsperger Syndromesocial relationshipsfriendshipTheory of Mind

Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  • Simon Baron-Cohen
    • 1
  • Sally Wheelwright
    • 1
  1. 1.Departments of Experimental Psychology and PsychiatryUniversity of CambridgeCambridgeU.K