A.J.P. van Voorst
- Predictive validity of self-report questionnaires in the assessment of autism spectrum disorders in adults
- Volume | Issue number
- 19 | 7
- Pages (from-to)
- Document type
- Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences (FMG)
- Psychology Research Institute (PsyRes)
While various screening instruments for autism spectrum disorders are widely used in diagnostic assessments, their psychometric properties have not been simultaneously evaluated in the outpatient setting where these instruments are used most. In this study, we tested the Ritvo Autism Asperger Diagnostic Scale-Revised and two short versions of the Autism-Spectrum Quotient, the AQ-28 and AQ-10, in 210 patients referred for autism spectrum disorder assessment and in 63 controls. Of the 210 patients, 139 received an autism spectrum disorder diagnosis and 71 received another psychiatric diagnosis. The positive predictive values indicate that these tests correctly identified autism spectrum disorder patients in almost 80% of the referred cases. However, the negative predictive values suggest that only half of the referred patients without autism spectrum disorder were correctly identified. The sensitivity and specificity of each of these instruments were much lower than the values reported in the literature. In this study, the sensitivity of the Ritvo Autism Asperger Diagnostic Scale-Revised was the highest (73%), and the Autism-Spectrum Quotient short forms had the highest specificity (70% and 72%). Based on the similar area under the curve values, there is no clear preference for any of the three instruments. None of these instruments have sufficient validity to reliably predict a diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder in outpatient settings.
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