Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders

, Volume 43, Issue 10, pp 2269–2279 | Cite as

The Modified Checklist for Autism in Toddlers: Reliability in a Diverse Rural American Sample

  • Angela Scarpa
  • Nuri M. Reyes
  • Michelle A. Patriquin
  • Jill Lorenzi
  • Tyler A. Hassenfeldt
  • Varsha J. Desai
  • Kathryn W. Kerkering
Original Paper


This study investigated the psychometric properties of the modified checklist for autism in toddlers (M-CHAT) in a diverse rural American low-socioeconomic status (SES) sample. Four hundred and forty-seven English (n = 335) and Spanish (n = 112) speaking caregivers completed the M-CHAT during their toddler’s 18- or 24-month well visit in a Southwest Virginia pediatric clinic. The M-CHAT did not show acceptable internal consistency in groups with low maternal education or minority status. Caregivers reporting low maternal education and minority status were more likely to endorse items suggestive of autism. These results indicate that the M-CHAT may require modifications to be more internally consistent and accurate across ethnic and educational groups in rural areas with low levels of SES. Recommendations to increase the utility of the M-CHAT are discussed.


M-CHAT Autism screening Reliability Diverse populations 



This study was funded by a Grant to A. Scarpa, V. J. Desai, and K. W. Kerkering from the Carilion Clinic Research Acceleration Program. The authors would like to acknowledge Debra Rezendes for her help in data collection in the early phase of this project. Portions of this manuscript have been presented at the International Meeting for Autism Research.

Conflict of interest

The authors of this study declare that they have no conflicts of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Angela Scarpa
    • 1
  • Nuri M. Reyes
    • 1
  • Michelle A. Patriquin
    • 1
  • Jill Lorenzi
    • 1
  • Tyler A. Hassenfeldt
    • 1
  • Varsha J. Desai
    • 2
  • Kathryn W. Kerkering
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyVirginia TechBlacksburgUSA
  2. 2.Department of PediatricsCarilion ClinicRoanokeUSA
  3. 3.Department of Pediatrics, Pediatric Neuro-Developmental ClinicCarilion ClinicRoanokeUSA

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