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Tijdschrift voor Psychiatrie 57 (2015) 12, 897 - 901

Short report

Dimensional measures in autism spectrum disorders: do we know what we measure?

W. de la Marche, I. Noens, J. Steyaert

background In the last decades, researchers often used measures to quantify autism spectrum disorder (asd) traits, paralleling the tendency to describe psychiatric and developmental disorders more dimensionally. The broader autism phenotype (bap) concept originates from this kind of research.
aim The primary aim of our studies was to study the existence of the bap and the familial transmission of quantitative autism traits (qat).
method We measured asd-traits with interviews and questionnaires in all members of 170 families with at least one child with asd.
results We confirmed the existence of the bap in fathers, as well as the familial transmission of qat. The results also suggest that what is measured with these questionnaires might depend on the population and the context.
conclusion Based on our results and additional data from scientific literature, we reflect on the interpretations of research results and the use of quantitative scales in both research and clinical practice.

keywords autism spectrum disorder, informant effect, quantitative autism traits