Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders

, Volume 42, Issue 4, pp 625–633 | Cite as

The Autism-Spectrum Quotient—Italian Version: A Cross-Cultural Confirmation of the Broader Autism Phenotype

  • Liliana RutaEmail author
  • Domenico Mazzone
  • Luigi Mazzone
  • Sally Wheelwright
  • Simon Baron-Cohen
Original Paper


The Autism Spectrum Quotient (AQ) has been used to define the ‘broader’ (BAP), ‘medium’ (MAP) and ‘narrow’ autism phenotypes (NAP). We used a new Italian version of the AQ to test if difference on AQ scores and the distribution of BAP, MAP and NAP in autism parents (n = 245) versus control parents (n = 300) were replicated in a Sicilian sample. Parents of children with autism spectrum conditions scored higher than the control parents on total AQ, social skills and communication subscales, and exhibited higher rates of BAP, MAP and NAP. We conclude that the Italian AQ is a cross-culturally reliable measure of these different phenotypes, and can be used to identify a phenotypic gradient of severity of autistic traits in families. To understand the molecular basis of these phenotypes will require its use in genetic association studies.


Autism spectrum conditions Broader autism phenotype Autistic traits Autism-spectrum quotient 



SBC, SW, and LR were supported by a grant from the MRC UK and the Nancy Lurie Marks Family Foundation during the period of this work. This work was conducted in association with the NIHR CLAHRC for Cambridgeshire and Peterborough NHS Foundation Trust. The authors thank all the parents who participated to the study. We are grateful to Dr. Valeria Mannino and Dr. Nunzia Russo for helping with parents’ recruitment. LR submitted the study in part fulfilment of her degree of PhD at the University of Catania, Italy. Some data from this work was first presented at the International Meeting for Autism Research (IMFAR), Chicago, 2009.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Liliana Ruta
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Domenico Mazzone
    • 2
  • Luigi Mazzone
    • 2
  • Sally Wheelwright
    • 1
  • Simon Baron-Cohen
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PsychiatryAutism Research Centre, University of CambridgeCambridgeUK
  2. 2.Division of Child Neurology and Psychiatry, Department of PaediatricsUniversity of CataniaCataniaItaly

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