Journal of Child and Family Studies

, Volume 28, Issue 12, pp 3385–3391 | Cite as

Factor Structure of the Social Communication Questionnaire in Preschool Aged Autistic Children

  • Rachel GroveEmail author
  • Jessica Paynter
  • Annette Joosten
  • Giacomo Vivanti
  • Cheryl Dissanayake
  • Valsamma Eapen
Original Paper



The Social Communication Questionnaire (SCQ) is a common screening tool for autism spectrum disorder. Given its wide use, as well as recent changes to diagnostic criteria for autism, there is a need to evaluate whether the SCQ maps onto the social communication and interaction, and repetitive behaviour and restricted interests domains specified in the revised criteria in DSM-5.


Participants included 294 preschool aged autistic children. Confirmatory factor analysis was implemented to evaluate the factor structure of the SCQ.


None of the models evaluated provided an adequate fit to the data. However, the best fitting model mapped onto the previous DSM-IV diagnostic criteria for autism.


The SCQ does not align with the new DSM-5 domains. More research is needed to evaluate the factor structure of the SCQ in different populations of autistic children in order to determine its current validity as a screening tool.


Autism spectrum disorder Social communication questionnaire Factor analysis Preschool children DSM-5 



This project was funded by the Department of Social Services. The first author was supported by the Cooperative Research Centre for Living with Autism (Autism CRC), established and supported under the Commonwealth Government’s Cooperative Research Centres programme. The authors would like to thank all staff at the Autism Specific Early Learning and Care Centres involved in this study. We also sincerely thank the children and families who participated in this research.

Authors’ contributions

RG: designed the study, completed all data analyses, and drafted the manuscript. JP: collaborated with the design of the study, provided data, and assisted with the drafting of the manuscript. AJ: collaborated with the design of the study, provided data, and assisted with the drafting of the manuscript. GV: collaborated with the design of the study, provided data, and assisted with the drafting of the manuscript. CD: collaborated with the design of the study, and assisted with the drafting of the manuscript. VE: designed the study and assisted with the drafting of the manuscript.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

Ethical approval to conduct this study was obtained via the University of New South Wales Human Research Ethics Committee prior to the study commencing, and appropriate ethical guidelines were followed. Informed consent was obtained from all parents before their child was enrolled in the study.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Graduate School of HealthUniversity of Technology SydneySydneyAustralia
  2. 2.School of PsychiatryUniversity of New South WalesSydneyAustralia
  3. 3.School of Applied PsychologyGriffith UniversityGold CoastAustralia
  4. 4.School of Occupational Therapy and Social WorkFaculty of Health SciencesPerthAustralia
  5. 5.Autism Association of Western AustraliaCurtin UniversityPerthAustralia
  6. 6.Olga Tennison Autism Research Centre, School of Psychology and Public HealthLa Trobe UniversityMelbourneAustralia
  7. 7.AJ Drexel Autism InstituteDrexel UniversityPhiladelphiaUSA
  8. 8.School of Psychiatry, University of New South WalesSydneyAustralia

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