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Type of Measure: excerpted from a recent summary paper A self-report measure of autistic traits. The AQ has 50 items, which are divided into five subscales consisting of 10 items each that assess domains of cognitive strengths and difficulties related to ASC: communication, social skills, imagination, attention to detail and attention switching.

Target Population: There are specific versions for children, adolescents, and adults.

Measurement properties and previous use: From review of 73 studies (by the authors of the AQ) Studies tend to show that AQ scores are elevated in individuals with autism. The original AQ validationstudy found that the total AQ score and its five subscale scores are normally distributed and have demonstrated good test-retest reliability, good internal consistency, and that the measure has acceptably high sensitivity and specificity: at a cut-off score of 26, 83% of patients were correctly identified (sensitivity 0.95, specificity 0.52, positive predictive value 0.84, negative predictive value 0.78), while a cut-off score of 32 correctly identifies 76% of patients (sensitivity 0.77, specificity 0.74) when the AQ is used in a referred clinical sample.

Other studies suggest report that the AQ had a weak or no correlation to other measures of autism. Bishop and Mailick Brugha et al

Languages: developed in English, translated into multiple languages, but availability varies by the specific version (child, adolescent adult, AQ vs AQ-10)

Authors and Citation:

  • Adult version: R. A. Hoekstra, M. Bartels, D. C. Cath and D. I. Boomsma, (2007) Factor Structure, Reliability and Criterion Validity of thevAutism-Spectrum Quotient (AQ): A Study in Dutch Population and Patient Groups Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders

A. Wakabayashi, S. Baron-Cohen, S. Wheelwright and Y. Tojo, (2006) The Autism-Spectrum Quotient (AQ) in Japan: A Cross-Cultural Comparison Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders

S. Wheelwright, S. Baron-Cohen, N. Goldenfeld, J. Delaney, D. Fine, R. Smith, L. Weil and A. Wakabayashi, (2006) Predicting Autism Spectrum Quotient (AQ) from the Systemizing Quotient-Revised (SQ-R) and Empathy Quotient (EQ) Brain Research 1079:47-56

M. Woodbury-Smith, J. Robinson and S. Baron-Cohen, (2005) Screening adults for Asperger Syndrome using the AQ : diagnostic validity in clinical practice Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders 35:331-335

S. Baron-Cohen, S. Wheelwright, R. Skinner, J. Martin and E. Clubley, (2001) The Autism Spectrum Quotient (AQ) : Evidence from Asperger Syndrome/High Functioning Autism, Males and Females, Scientists and Mathematicians Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders 31:5-17

  • Adolescent version: S. Baron-Cohen, R. A. Hoekstra, R. Knickmeyer and S. Wheelwright, (2006) The Autism-Spectrum Quotient (AQ) — Adolescent Version Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders 36:343-350

  • Child version: B. Auyeung, S. Baron-Cohen, S. Wheelwright and C. Allison, (2008) The Autism Spectrum Quotient: Children’s Version (AQ-Child) Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders

  • AQ-10 (adult): C. Allison, B. Auyeung, S. Baron-Cohen (2012) Toward Brief “Red Flags” for Autism Screening: The Short Autism Spectrum Quotient and the Short Quantitative Checklist in 1,000 Cases and 3,000 Controls Journal of the American Acad of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry

Licence: From their website: “Our tests are posted on our website to enable free access to academic researchers. (from the translations): Intellectual property ownership of tests developed by the ARC rests with the University of Cambridge and the researchers/staff it employs who developed the test. Permission to translate a test is granted by the ARC as author-permission, and it is up to the translator to seek permission from the journal where the test was first published in English if they also wish to obtain the publisher-permission. In many cases, copyright of the test may rest with the publisher. Translations are posted on the ARC website for use for free by researchers world-wide.

Link to measure: Available on same page as all Autism Research Centre instruments

Corrections or updates? Let us know!