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The Broad Autism Phenotype Questionnaire: Prevalence and Diagnostic Classification

Authors

  • Noah J. Sasson,

    Corresponding author
    • School of Behavioral and Brain Sciences, The University of Texas at Dallas, Richardson, Texas
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  • Kristen S. L. Lam,

    1. Carolina Institute for Developmental Disabilities, School of Medicine, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, North Carolina
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  • Debra Childress,

    1. Carolina Institute for Developmental Disabilities, School of Medicine, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, North Carolina
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  • Morgan Parlier,

    1. Carolina Institute for Developmental Disabilities, School of Medicine, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, North Carolina
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  • Julie L. Daniels,

    1. Carolina Institute for Developmental Disabilities, School of Medicine, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, North Carolina
    2. Department of Epidemiology, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, North Carolina
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  • Joseph Piven

    Corresponding author
    • Carolina Institute for Developmental Disabilities, School of Medicine, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, North Carolina
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  • Grant sponsor: National Institutes of Health, IDDRC Participant Registry Core, P30 #HD003110; Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Grant numbers: U10 DD000184-06, U50/CCU422345.

Address for correspondence and reprints: Noah J. Sasson, School of Behavioral and Brain Sciences—GR41, The University of Texas at Dallas, Richardson, TX, 75080. E-mail: nsasson@utdallas.edu; or Joseph Piven, Carolina Institute for Developmental Disabilities, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC, 27599-7255. E-mail: jpiven@med.unc.edu

Abstract

The Broad Autism Phenotype Questionnaire (BAPQ) was administered to a large community-based sample of biological parents of children with autism (PCAs) and comparison parents (CPs) (n = 1,692). Exploratory factor analysis and internal consistency parameters confirmed a robust three-factor structure of the BAPQ, corresponding to the proposed aloof, pragmatic language and rigidity subscales. Based upon the distribution of Broad Autism Phenotype (BAP) features in the general population, new normative cutoff values for BAPQ subscales were established that provide increased specificity relative to those previously reported, and thus enhance the utility of the BAPQ for diagnostically classifying the BAP. These cutoffs were also used to estimate prevalence of the BAP and its three components, with rates ranging between 14–23% for PCAs and between 5–9% for CPs. Analysis of patterns of BAP characteristics within family members revealed that BAP features were more likely to co-occur in PCAs relative to CPs. Collectively, these findings extend the utility of the BAPQ and provide additional evidence that it is an efficient and reliable tool for disaggregating the heterogeneity of autism through the identification of meaningful subgroups of parents. Autism Res 2013, 6: 134–143. © 2013 International Society for Autism Research, Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

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