Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders

, Volume 49, Issue 2, pp 773–780 | Cite as

Measuring Autism Traits in the Adult General Population with the Brief Autism-Spectrum Quotient, AQ-10: Findings from the Stockholm Public Health Cohort

  • Andreas LundinEmail author
  • Kyriaki Kosidou
  • Christina Dalman
Brief Report



The autism-spectrum quotient scale was developed to study autism as a spectrum. Few studies have examined the psychometric properties of the 10 item AQ (AQ-10). We examine the AQ-10 measurement ability and convergent validity in a population health survey (n = 44,722).


The item severity and item discrimination was assessed using item response theory. Convergent validity was assessed by regressing on ADHD, psychological distress (PD) and having an education in the sciences.


Whilst unidimensional, the AQ-10 had some poorly fitting items. Item discrimination ranged from very low to very high. The scale correlated as hypothesised with the regress expected when factoring in ADHD, PD and possessing an eduction in the sciences.


The AQ-10 has adequate validity in the present sample and may be used in s as a measure of autistic traits. In Conclusion, The AQ-10 has adequate validity to be used in health surveys as a measure of autistic traits, although some items may perform poorly.


Autistic traits Social skills Routine Attention switching Imagination Attention to details 



This study was supported by the Swedish Research Council for Health, Working Life and Welfare (Project No. 2014-1743). The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.

Author Contributions

AL conceived of the study, participated in its design and coordination, drafted the manuscript, and performed the statistical analysis. KK participated in the design and interpretation of the data, and helped to draft the manuscript. CD participated in the design of the study and helped to draft the manuscript. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.


This study was supported by the Swedish Research Council for Health, Working Life and Welfare (Project nr 2014-1743). The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no competing interests.

Ethical Approval

All procedures performed in the studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the Institutional and/or National Research Committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Informed Consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.

Supplementary material

10803_2018_3749_MOESM1_ESM.docx (22 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 22 KB)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Public Health SciencesKarolinska InstitutetStockholmSweden
  2. 2.Center for Epidemiology and Community Medicine, Stockholm County & Department of Public Health SciencesKarolinska InstitutetStockholmSweden

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