Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders

, Volume 43, Issue 2, pp 371–381 | Cite as

Effects of Child Characteristics on the Autism Diagnostic Interview-Revised: Implications for Use of Scores as a Measure of ASD Severity

  • Vanessa Hus
  • Catherine Lord
Original Paper


The Autism Diagnostic Interview-Revised (ADI-R) is commonly used to inform diagnoses of autism spectrum disorders (ASD). Considering the time dedicated to using the ADI-R, it is of interest to expand the ways in which information obtained from this interview is used. The current study examines how algorithm totals reflecting past (ADI-Diagnostic) and current (ADI-Current) behaviors are influenced by child characteristics, such as demographics, behavioral problems and developmental level. Children with less language at the time of the interview had higher ADI-Diagnostic and ADI-Current. ADI-Diagnostic totals were also associated with age; parents of older children reported more severe past behaviors. Recommendations are provided regarding the use of the ADI-R as a measure of ASD severity, taking language and age into account.


Autism spectrum disorders Autism diagnostic interview-revised Severity Language level Chronological age 



This research was supported by a graduate fellowship from the Simons Foundation and a Dennis Weatherstone Predoctoral Fellowship to VH and Simons Foundation and National Institute of Mental Health grants R01MH081873 and RC1MH089721 to CL. We are grateful to the families, as well as SSC principal investigators (A. Beaudet, R. Bernier, J. Constantino, E. Cook, E. Fombonne, D. Geschwind, D. Grice, A. Klin, D. Ledbetter, C. Martin, D. Martin, R. Maxim, J. Miles, O. Ousley, B. Peterson, J. Piggot, C. Saulnier, M. State, W. Stone, J. Sutcliffe, C. Walsh, E. Wijsman). We appreciate obtaining access to phenotypic data on SFARI Base. Approved researchers can obtain the SSC dataset described in this study ([sfari_collection_v12]/ui:view()) by applying at

Conflict of interest

C. Lord receives royalties for the ADI-R and ADOS; profits from this study were donated to charity.

Supplementary material

10803_2012_1576_MOESM1_ESM.doc (130 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOC 130 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of MichiganAnn ArborUSA
  2. 2.Center for Autism and the Developing BrainWeill Cornell Medical College & NY Presbyterian HospitalWhite PlainsUSA

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