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Type of Measure: Children’s Sympathizing Quotient (SQ-C) is a 28-item parent-report questionnaire that was designed assess systemzing among children with Autism Spectrum Conditions (ASC). The SQ-C questionnaire is Likert format and contains a list of statements about real life situations, experiences, and interests where empathizing abilities are required. Where possible, questions were phrased to ask about engagement and/or preference for activities in which both boys and girls would typically participate. In order to tap into the extreme ends of the spectrum, some items ask about relatively rare behaviors (such as bullying or reactions to the death of a movie character). Parents are asked to indicate how strongly they agree with each statement about their child by ticking one of several options: ‘definitely agree’, ‘slightly agree’, ‘slightly disagree’, or ‘definitely disagree’. The maximum attainable score for instrument is 56.

Target Population: Children with normal intelligence ages 5 - 11

Measurement properties and previous use:
Auyeung et al. (2009) examined the SQ-C’s psychometric properties within a sample compromised of parents with typically developing children (n = 1,256) and parents of children with ASC. In the typically developing group, the SQ-C showed a broad range of responses, high internal consistency (coefficient alpha = 0.78) and good test–retest reliability. Six months after initial contact, n = 500 participants were asked to complete a second copy of the SQ-C in resulting in 258 test–retest pairs (133 girls, 125 boys). For the SQ-C, the intra-class correlation between the two tests was 0.84 (single measures) (p < 0.001).

Differences between the groups were analyzed using a one-way between subjects ANOVA. The ANOVA revealed a significant main effect for ASC diagnosis (F(2,1518) = 42.16, p <0.001). Tukey HSD pairwise comparisons revealed significant differences between the groups (all p <0.001), with the ASC group scoring the highest (M = 27.43, SD = 9.20), followed by typical boys (M = 25.81, SD = 7.79) and typical girls scoring the lowest (M = 22.64, SD = 7.94).

On the SQ-C, boys were found to score significantly higher than girls. A smaller effect size (d = 0.40) was found for SQ-C score, with boys scoring higher than girls. Sex differences in SQ-C scores are also consistent with studies demonstrating a male advantage for visuo-spatial ability and a preference for ‘systems’. Children with ASC had even higher scores on this measure than boys (d = 0.38) and results are in line with studies showing increased ability on tasks such as figure disembedding and block design. The scoring patterns observed therefore support the idea that individuals with ASC may be more likely to engage in behaviors or activities which involve systems and processes.

Languages: Engligh

Authors and Citation: Auyeung, B., Wheelwright, S., Allison, C., Atkinson, M., Samarawickrema, N., & Baron-Cohen, S. (2009). The children’s empathy quotient and systemizing quotient: Sex differences in typical development and in autism spectrum conditions. Journal of autism and developmental disorders, 39(11), 1509.

Licence: This measure is freely available online, and may be used along with proper citiation. You are welcome to download these tests provided that they are used for genuine research purposes, and provided due acknowledgement of Autism Research Centre (ARC) as the source is given.

Link to measure: Systemizing Quotient for Children (SQ-C)

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