Advertisement

The Subthreshold Autism Trait Questionnaire (SATQ): Development of a Brief Self-Report Measure of Subthreshold Autism Traits

  • Stephen M. Kanne
  • Jennifer Wang
  • Shawn E. Christ
Original Paper

Abstract

The current study was motivated by a need for a self-report questionnaire that assesses a broad range of subthreshold autism traits, is brief and easily administered, and is relevant to the general population. An initial item pool was administered to 1,709 students. Structural validity analysis resulted in a 24-item questionnaire termed the Subthreshold Autism Trait Questionnaire (SATQ; Cronbach’s alpha coefficient = .73, test–retest reliability = .79). An exploratory factor analysis suggested 5 factors. Confirmatory factor analysis indicated the 5 factor solution was an adequate fit and outperformed two other models. The SATQ successfully differentiated between an ASD and student group and demonstrated convergent validity with other ASD measures. Thus, the current study introduces and provides initial psychometric support for the SATQ.

Keywords

Autism Broader Autism Phenotype AQ BAPQ Subthreshold 

Notes

Acknowledgments

This research was supported by grants from the MU Thompson Center for Autism and Neurodevelopment Disorders (SC & SK) and MU Research Board (SC). The authors would like to thank Lauren Kruczyk, Kimberly Pope, and Brittany Waller for their assistance with data collection.

References

  1. American Psychiatric Association. (1994). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (4th ed.). Washington, DC: American Psychiatric Publishing, Inc.Google Scholar
  2. Auyeung, B., Baron-Cohen, S., Wheelwright, S., & Allison, C. (2008). The autism spectrum quotient: Children’s version (AQ-Child). Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 38(7), 1230–1240.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Baron-Cohen, S., Hoekstra, R. A., Knickmeyer, R., & Wheelwright, S. (2006). The autism-spectrum quotient (AQ)—Adolescent version. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 36(3), 343–350.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Baron-Cohen, S., Scott, F. J., & Allison, C. (2009). Prevalence of autism-spectrum conditions: UK school-based population study. The British Journal of Psychiatry, 194, 500–509.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Baron-Cohen, S., Wheelwright, S., Skinner, R., Martin, J., & Clubley, E. (2001). The autism-spectrum quotient (AQ): Evidence from Asperger syndrome/high-functioning autism, males and females, scientists and mathematicians. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 31(1), 5–17.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Berument, S. K., Rutter, M., Lord, C., Pickles, A., & Bailey, A. (1999). Autism screening questionnaire: Diagnostic validity. British Journal of Psychiatry, 175, 444–451.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Clark, L. A., & Watson, D. (1995). Constructing validity: Basic issues in objective scale development. Psychological Assessment, 7(3), 309–319.Google Scholar
  8. Constantino, J. N., Gruber, C. P., Davis, S., Hayes, S., Passanante, N., & Przybeck, T. (2004). The factor structure of autistic traits. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 45(4), 719–726.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Constantino, J. N., Przybeck, T., Friesen, D., & Todd, R. D. (2000). Reciprocal social behavior in children with and without pervasive developmental disorders. Journal of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics, 21(1), 2–11.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Constantino, J. N., & Todd, R. D. (2003). Autistic traits in the general population: A twin study. Archives of General Psychiatry, 60(5), 524–530.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Constantino, J. N., & Todd, R. D. (2005). Intergenerational transmission of subthreshold autistic traits in the general population. Biological Psychiatry, 57(6), 655–660.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Delawalla, Z., Barch, D. M., Fisher Eastep, J. L., Thomason, E. S., Hanewinkel, M. J., Thompson, P. A., et al. (2006). Factors mediating cognitive deficits and psychopathology among siblings of individuals with schizophrenia. Schizophrenia Bulletin, 32(3), 525–537.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Filipek, P. A., Accardo, P. J., Ashwal, S., Baranek, G. T., Cook, E. H., Jr., Dawson, G., et al. (2000). Practice parameter: Screening and diagnosis of autism: Report of the Quality Standards Subcommittee of the American Academy of Neurology and the Child Neurology Society. Neurology, 55(4), 468–479.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  14. Gotham, K., Pickles, A., & Lord, C. (2009). Standardizing ADOS scores for a measure of severity in autism spectrum disorders. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 39(5), 693–705.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Hoekstra, R. A., Bartels, M., Cath, D. C., & Boomsma, D. I. (2008). Factor structure, reliability and criterion validity of the Autism-Spectrum Quotient (AQ): A study in Dutch population and patient groups. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 38(8), 1555–1566.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Hoekstra, R., Vinkhuyzen, A., Wheelwright, S., Bartels, M., Boomsma, D., Baron-Cohen, S., et al. (2011). The construction and validation of an abridged version of the autism-spectrum quotient (AQ-Short). Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 41(5), 589–596.Google Scholar
  17. Hurley, R. S. E., Losh, M., Parlier, M., Reznick, J. S., & Piven, J. (2007). The broad autism phenotype questionnaire. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 37(9), 1679–1690.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Jobe, L., & White, S. (2007). Loneliness, social relationships, and a broader autism phenotype in college students. Personality and Individual Differences, 42, 1479–1489.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Kanne, S. M., Christ, S. E., & Reiersen, A. M. (2009). Psychiatric symptoms and psychosocial difficulties in young adults with autistic traits. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 39(6), 827–833.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Kerns, J. G. (2006). Schizotypy facets, cognitive control, and emotion. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 115(3), 418–427.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Krug, D. A., Arick, J. R., & Almond, P. J. (1988). Autism behavior checklist. Austin, TX: PRO-ED.Google Scholar
  22. Ledesma, R. D., & Valero-Mora, P. (2007). Determining the number of factors to retain in EFA: An easy-to-use computer program for carrying out parallel analysis. Practical Assessment, Research & Evaluation, 12(2), 1–11.Google Scholar
  23. Lord, C., Rutter, M., DiLavore, P. C., & Risi, S. (2002). Autism diagnostic observation schedule. Los Angeles, CA: Western Psychological Services.Google Scholar
  24. Lord, C., Rutter, M., & Le Couteur, A. (1994). Autism diagnostic interview—Revised: A revised version of a diagnostic interview for caregivers of individuals with possible pervasive developmental disorders. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 24(5), 659–685.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Psychological Corporation. (1999). Wechsler abbreviated scale of intelligence. San Antonio, TX: Psychological Corporation.Google Scholar
  26. Reiersen, A. M., Constantino, J. N., Grimmer, M., Martin, N. G., & Todd, R. D. (2008). Evidence for shared genetic influences on self-reported ADHD and autistic symptoms in young adult Australian twins. Twin Research and Human Genetics, 11(6), 579–585.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Robins, D. L., Fein, D., Barton, M. L., & Green, J. A. (2001). The modified checklist for autism in toddlers: An initial study investigating the early detection of autism and pervasive developmental disorders. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 31(2), 131–144.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Ronald, A., Happe, F., Bolton, P., Butcher, L. M., Price, T. S., Wheelwright, S., et al. (2006). Genetic heterogeneity between the three components of the autism spectrum: A twin study. Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 45(6), 691–699.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Schermelleh-Engel, K., Moosbrugger, H., & Muller, H. (2003). Evaluating the fit of structural equation models: Tests of significance and descriptive goodness-of-fit measures. Methods of Psychological Research, 8(2), 23–74.Google Scholar
  30. Schopler, E., Reichler, R. J., DeVellis, R. F., & Daly, K. (1980). Toward objective classification of childhood autism: Childhood autism rating scale (CARS). Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 10(1), 91–103.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Scott, F. J., Baron-Cohen, S., Bolton, P., & Brayne, C. (2002). The CAST (Childhood Asperger Syndrome Test): Preliminary development of a UK screen for mainstream primary-school-age children. Autism, 6, 9–31.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Spiker, D., Lotspeich, L. J., Dimiceli, S., Myers, R. M., & Risch, N. (2002). Behavioral phenotypic variation in autism multiplex families: Evidence for a continuous severity gradient. American Journal of Medical Genetics, 114(2), 129–136.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Steiger, J. H. (1990). Structural model evaluation and modification: An interval estimation approach. Apr 1990. Multivariate Behavioral Research, 25(2), 173–180.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Volkmar, F., Cook, E. H., Jr., Pomeroy, J., Realmuto, G., Tanguay, P., American Academy of, C., et al. (1999). Practice parameters for the assessment and treatment of children, adolescents, and adults with autism and other pervasive developmental disorders. Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, 38(12 Suppl), 32S–54S.Google Scholar
  35. Wakabayashi, A., Baron-Cohen, S., Wheelwright, S., & Tojo, Y. (2006). The autism-spectrum quotient (AQ) in Japan: A cross-cultural comparison. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 36(2), 263–270.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Wechsler, D. (1999). The Wechsler abbreviated scale of intelligence. San Antonio, TX: The Psychological Corporation.Google Scholar
  37. Zwick, W. R., & Velicer, W. F. (1986). Comparison of five rules for determining the number of components to retain. Psychological Bulletin, 99(3), 432–442.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Stephen M. Kanne
    • 1
  • Jennifer Wang
    • 2
  • Shawn E. Christ
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Pediatrics, Psychology Section, Baylor College of MedicineTexas Children’s HospitalHoustonUSA
  2. 2.Department of Health Psychology and Thompson Center for Autism and Neurodevelopmental DisordersUniversity of MissouriColumbiaUSA
  3. 3.Department of Psychological SciencesUniversity of MissouriColumbiaUSA

Personalised recommendations