Skip to main content

Factor Analysis of the Aberrant Behavior Checklist in Individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders

Abstract

Exploratory factor analysis (varimax and promax rotations) of the aberrant behavior checklist-community version (ABC) in 275 individuals with Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) identified four- and five-factor solutions which accounted for >70% of the variance. Confirmatory factor analysis (Lisrel 8.7) revealed indices of moderate fit for the five-factor solution. Our results suggest that the factor structure of the ABC is robust within an ASD sample. Both solutions yielded a three items self-injury factor. Stratifying on this factor, we identified significant differences between the high- and low-self injury groups on ABC subscales. The emergence of a self-injury factor, while not suggestive of a new subscale, warrants further exploration as a tool that could help dissect relevant neurobiobehavioral groups in ASD.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

References

  1. Aman, M. G. (2002). The aberrant behavior checklist: An annotated bibliography. Washington, DC: Author.

    Google Scholar 

  2. Aman, M. G., Novotny, S., Samango-Sprouse, C., Lecavalier, L., Leonard, E., Gadow, K. D., et al. (2004). Outcome measures for clinical drug trials in autism. CNS Spectrums, 9, 36–47.

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  3. Aman, M. G., & Singh, N. B. (1994). Aberrant behavior checklist—community, supplementary manual. East Aurora, NY: Slosson Educational Publications.

    Google Scholar 

  4. Aman, M. G., Singh, N. N., Stewart, A. W., & Field, C. J. (1985a). Psychometric characteristics of the aberrant behavior checklist. American Journal of Mental Deficiency, 89, 492–502.

    CAS  Google Scholar 

  5. Aman, M. G., Singh, N. N., Stewart, A. W., & Field, C. J. (1985b). The aberrant behavior checklist: a behavior rating scale for the assessment of treatment effects. American Journal of Mental Deficiency, 89, 485–491.

    CAS  Google Scholar 

  6. Aman, M. G., Tasse, M. J., Rojahn, J., & Hammer, D. (1996). The Nisonger CBRF: a child behavior rating form for children with developmental disabilities. Research in Development Disability, 17, 41–57.

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  7. American Psychiatric Association (1994). Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV) (Vols. IV) Washington, DC: American Psychiatric Press Inc.

    Google Scholar 

  8. Arnold, L. E., Aman, M. G., Martin, A., Collier-Crespin, A., Vitiello, B., Tierney, E., et al. (2000). Assessment in multisite randomized clinical trials of patients with autistic disorder: the Autism RUPP Network. Research Units on Pediatric Psychopharmacology. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 30, 99–111.

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  9. Bolte, S., Dickhut, H., & Poustka, F. (1999). Patterns of parent-reported problems indicative in autism. Psychopathology, 32, 93–97.

    PubMed  Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  10. Bolte, S., & Poustka, F. (2001). Factor structure of the autism diagnostic interview-revised (ADI-R): A study of dimensional versus categorical classification of autistic disorders. Zeitschrift fur Kinder- und Jugendpsychiatrie und Psychotherapie, 29, 221–229.

    PubMed  Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  11. Brown, E. C., Aman, M. G., & Havercamp, S. M. (2002). Factor analysis and norms for parent ratings on the aberrant behavior checklist-community for young people in special education. Research in Developmental Disabilities, 23, 45–60.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  12. Browne, M. W., & Cudeck, R. (1993). Alternative ways of assessing model fit. In K. A. Bollen, & J. S. Lang (Eds.), Testing structural models (pp. 136–162). Newbury Park, CA: Sage Publications.

    Google Scholar 

  13. Capone, G. T., Grados, M. A., Kaufmann, W. E., Bernad-Ripoll, S., & Jewell, A. (2005). Down syndrome and comorbid autism-spectrum disorder: characterization using the aberrant behavior checklist. American Journal of Medical Genetics. Part A., 134, 373–380.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  14. Cattell, R. B. (1966). The Scree test for the number of factors. Multivariate Behavioral Research, 1, 245–276.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  15. Clarke, D. J., & Boer, H. (1998). Problem behaviors associated with deletion Prader-Willi, Smith-Magenis, and cri du chat syndromes. American Journal of Mental Retardation, 103, 264–271.

    PubMed  Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  16. Clarke, D. J., Boer, H., Chung, M. C., Sturmey, P., & Webb, T. (1996). Maladaptive behaviour in Prader-Willi syndrome in adult life. Journal of Intellectual Disability Research, 40(Pt 2), 159–165.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  17. Clarke, D. J., & Marston, G. (2000). Problem behaviors associated with 15q- Angelman syndrome. American Journal of Mental Retardation, 105, 25–31.

    PubMed  Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  18. Cohen J. (1988). Statistical power analysis for the behavioral sciences (2nd ed.). Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.

    Google Scholar 

  19. 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, 719–726.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  20. Cuccaro, M. L., Slifer, M., Wolpert, C. M., Donnelly, S. L., Abramson, R. K., Ravan, S. A., et al. (2003). Factor analysis of restricted and repetitive behaviors in autism using the autism diagnostic interview-R. Child Psychiatry and Human Development, 34, 3–17.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  21. DiLalla, D. L., & Rogers, S. J. (1994). Domains of the childhood autism rating scale: Relevance for diagnosis and treatment. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 24, 115–128.

    PubMed  Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  22. Einfeld, S. L., & Tonge, B. J. (2002). Manual for the developmental behaviour checklist (2nd ed.). University of New South Wales and Monash University.

  23. Freund, L. S., & Reiss, A. L. (1991). Rating problem behaviors in outpatients with mental retardation: Use of the aberrant behavior checklist. Research in Developmental Disability, 12, 435–451.

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  24. Gabriels, R. L., Cuccaro, M. L., Hill, D. E., Ivers, B. J., & Goldson, E. (2005). Repetitive behaviors in autism: Relationships with associated clinical features. Research in Developmental Disability, 26, 169–181.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  25. Gadow, K. D., DeVincent, C. J., Pomeroy, J., & Azizian, A. (2004). Psychiatric symptoms in preschool children with PDD and clinic and comparison samples. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 34, 379–393.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  26. Hollander, E., Phillips, A., King, B. H., Guthrie, D., Aman, M. G., Law, P., et al. (2004). Impact of recent findings on study design of future autism clinical trials. CNS Spectrums, 9, 49–56.

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  27. Hussman, J. P. (2001). Suppressed GABAergic inhibition as a common factor in suspected etiologies of autism. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 31, 247–248.

    PubMed  Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  28. Kaiser, H. F. (1960). The application of electronic computers to factor analysis. Educational and Psychological Measurement, 20, 141–151.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  29. Kemner, C., Willemsen-Swinkels, S. H., de Jonge, M., Tuynman-Qua, H., & van Engeland, H. (2002). Open-label study of olanzapine in children with pervasive developmental disorder. Journal of Clinical Psychopharmacology, 22, 455–460.

    PubMed  Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  30. Lecavalier, L., Aman, M. G., Hammer, D., Stoica, W., & Mathews, G. L. (2004). Factor analysis of the Nisonger child behavior rating form in children with autism spectrum disorders. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 34, 709–721.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  31. Lecavalier, L., Aman, M. G., Scahill, L., McDougle, C. J., McCracken, J. T., Vitiello, B., et al. (2006). Validity of the autism diagnostic interview-revised. American Journal of Mental Retardation, 111, 199–215.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  32. Ma, D. Q., Whitehead, P. L., Menold, M. M., Martin, E. R., Ashley-Koch, A. E., Mei, H., et al. (2005). Identification of significant association and gene–gene interaction on GABA receptor subunit genes in autism. American Journal of Human Genetics, 77, 377–388.

    PubMed  Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  33. Marshburn, E. C., & Aman, M. G. (1992). Factor validity and norms for the aberrant behavior checklist in a community sample of children with mental retardation. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 22, 357–373.

    PubMed  Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  34. McCracken, J. T., McGough, J., Shah, B., Cronin, P., Hong, D., Aman, M. G., et al. (2002). Risperidone in children with autism and serious behavioral problems. The New England Journal of Medicine, 347, 314–321.

    PubMed  Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  35. McDougle, C. J., Scahill, L., Aman, M. G., McCracken, J. T., Tierney, E., Davies, M., et al. (2005). Risperidone for the core symptom domains of autism: results from the study by the autism network of the research units on pediatric psychopharmacology. American Journal of Psychiatry, 162, 1142–1148.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  36. Miranda-Linne, F. M., & Melin, L. (2002). A factor analytic study of the Autism Behavior Checklist. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 32, 181–188.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  37. Owley, T., Walton, L., Salt, J., Guter, S. J. Jr., Winnega, M., Leventhal, B. L. et al. (2005). An open-label trial of escitalopram in pervasive developmental disorders. Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 44, 343–348.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  38. Paclawskyj, T. R., Matson, J. L., Bamburg, J. W., & Baglio, C. S. (1997). A comparison of the diagnostic assessment for the severely handicapped-II (DASH-II) and the aberrant behavior checklist (ABC). Research in Developmental Disability, 18, 289–298.

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  39. Posey, D. J., Kem, D. L., Swiezy, N. B., Sweeten, T. L., Wiegand, R. E., & McDougle, C. J. (2004). A pilot study of D-cycloserine in subjects with autistic disorder. American Journal of Psychiatry, 161, 2115–2117.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  40. Rojahn, J., Aman, M. G., Matson, J. L., & Mayville, E. (2003). The aberrant behavior checklist and the behavior problems inventory: Convergent and divergent validity. Research in Developmental Disability, 24, 391–404.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  41. Rojahn, J., & Helsel, W. J. (1991). The aberrant behavior checklist with children and adolescents with dual diagnosis. Journal of Autism Deveolpmental Disorders, 21, 17–28.

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  42. Rubenstein, J. L., & Merzenich, M. M. (2003). Model of autism: increased ratio of excitation/inhibition in key neural systems. Genes Brain Behaviors, 2, 255–267.

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  43. SAS Institute (2000). SAS/STAT user’s guide (Version 8, 4th ed., Vols. 1 and 2). Cary, NC: Author.

    Google Scholar 

  44. Shea, S., Turgay, A., Carroll, A., Schulz, M., Orlik, H., Smith, I., et al. (2004). Risperidone in the treatment of disruptive behavioral symptoms in children with autistic and other pervasive developmental disorders. Pediatrics, 114, e634–e641.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  45. Sparrow, S. S., Balla, D., & Cicchetti, D. (1984). Vineland adaptive behavior scales (Interview ed.). Circle Pines, MN: AGS Publishing.

    Google Scholar 

  46. 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, 129–136.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  47. Stella, J., Mundy, P., & Tuchman, R. (1999). Social and nonsocial factors in the Childhood Autism Rating Scale. Journal of Autism Developmental Disorders, 29, 307–317.

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  48. Stevens, J. (2002). Applied multivariate statistics for the social sciences. Mahwah, NJ: LEA.

    Google Scholar 

  49. Summers, J. A., & Feldman, M. A. (1999). Distinctive pattern of behavioral functioning in Angelman syndrome. American Journal of Mental Retardation, 104, 376–384.

    PubMed  Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  50. Tadevosyan-Leyfner, O., Dowd, M., Mankoski, R., Winklosky, B., Putnam, S., McGrath, L., et al. (2003). A principal components analysis of the Autism Diagnostic Interview-Revised. Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 42, 864–872.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  51. Todd, R. D. (2005). Genetic advances in autism hinge on the method of measuring symptoms. Current Psychiatry Report, 7, 133–137.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  52. Volkmar, F. R., Lord, C., Bailey, A., Schultz, R. T., & Klin, A. (2004). Autism and pervasive developmental disorders. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 45, 135–170.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

Download references

Acknowledgments

We thank the patients with autism, and family members who agreed to participate in this study, as well as the personnel of the CHG at DUMC, for their input on this project. We also thank Drs. Robert Delong and Gordon Worley for referring patients and their families to the study. This research was supported in part by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) program project grant NS26630, and grants R01 NS36768, R01 AG20135, and R01 NS42165. Finally, we acknowledge support from the National Alliance of Autism Research (NAAR).

Author information

Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Michael L. Cuccaro.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Brinkley, J., Nations, L., Abramson, R.K. et al. Factor Analysis of the Aberrant Behavior Checklist in Individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders. J Autism Dev Disord 37, 1949–1959 (2007). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10803-006-0327-3

Download citation

Keywords

  • Autism
  • Aberrant Behavior Checklist
  • Irritability
  • Self-injury