Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders

, Volume 39, Issue 1, pp 126–134 | Cite as

Validation of the Autism Spectrum Screening Questionnaire in a Total Population Sample

  • Maj-Britt PosserudEmail author
  • Astri J. Lundervold
  • Christopher Gillberg
Original Paper


There is a lack of instruments validated for screening of autism spectrum disorders (ASD) in general populations and primary care settings. The Autism Spectrum Screening Questionnaire (ASSQ) has previously been shown to have good screening properties in clinical settings. We used the ASSQ to screen a total population of 7–9 year-olds (N = 9430) for ASD in the Bergen Child Study. Parents and teachers filled in the ASSQ, and high-scorers were invited for clinical assessment, along with a large group of screen negative children. We found that the ASSQ was well suited as a general population screen. Combining parent and teacher ASSQ and using cut-off score of ≥17 provided the most efficient screen with sensitivity of 0.91 and specificity of 0.86.


Autism spectrum disorders Screening Epidemiology ASSQ Informant 



The present study was supported by fellowship from the Centre of Child and Adolescent Mental Health, Unifob Health, Bergen, and was also funded by the University of Bergen, the Norwegian Directorate for Health and Social Affairs, and the Western Norway Regional Health Authority. We are grateful to the children, parents and teachers participating in the BCS, and to the other members of the project group for making the study possible. We thank Jim Stevenson and Berit Hilt for helpful comments on the manuscript.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Maj-Britt Posserud
    • 1
    Email author
  • Astri J. Lundervold
    • 2
  • Christopher Gillberg
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Biological and Medical Psychology, Centre for Child and Adolescent Mental Health University of BergenBergenNorway
  2. 2.Department of Biological and Medical PsychologyUniversity of BergenBergenNorway
  3. 3.Child Neuropsychiatry Clinic, Queen Silvia’s Children’s HospitalSahlgren University HospitalGothenburgSweden

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