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Psychiatry Clin Neurosci. 2006 Jun;60(3):373-8.

Autism-spectrum quotient Japanese version measures mental health problems other than autistic traits.

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  • 1Zenkoku Ryoiku Sodan Center, Tokyo, Japan.


The purpose of the present paper was to examine the extent to which the Autism Spectrum Quotient Japanese version (AQ-J) measures mental health problems other than autistic traits, with the 12-item General Health Questionnaire Japanese version (GHQ-12) as a criterion. A questionnaire involving AQ-J and GHQ-12 was sent to 2000 adults aged 20-39 randomly selected from the general population, and intact data were obtained from 215 (mean age, 30.4 years; 86 male). The AQ-J score was significantly associated with the GHQ-12 score (r=0.518) and was significantly higher in 111 scoring >or=4 on the GHQ-12 (mean=24.8+/-6.5) than in 104 scoring <4 (mean=19.4+/-5.5). At a cut-off 22, the AQ-J had modest sensitivity (0.64) and specificity (0.66) for predicting mental health problems. The 21-item mental health AQ-J (AQJ-21MH; range, 0-21; cut-off, 9; sensitivity, 0.69; specificity, 0.76), items of which had a significant odds ratio (OR) for GHQ-12>or=4, and the AQ-J-4MH (range, 0-4; cut-off, 2; sensitivity, 0.68; specificity, 0.74) consisting of four items with a significant OR adjusted for collinearity selected from the 21 items by multiple logistic regression, were more efficient than the AQ-J. Because the AQ-J and its short forms measure mental health problems other than autistic traits, it is important to consider such problems in interpreting AQ-J scores to identify persons who may need professional help when screening normally intelligent adolescents and adults with pervasive developmental disorders.

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