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Am I Autistic? Utility of the Girls Questionnaire for Autism Spectrum Condition as an Autism Assessment in Adult Women

Version 2 2024-06-03, 09:09
Version 1 2020-07-13, 10:54
journal contribution
posted on 2024-06-03, 09:09 authored by Claire M Brown, Tony Attwood, Michelle Garnett, Mark StokesMark Stokes
This study aimed to explore the structure of a modified version of the Girls Questionnaire for Autism Spectrum Condition (GQ-ASC; Attwood et al. 2011) to test its utility as an autism screening measure for adult women. We recruited 672 cisgender and trans women aged between 18 and 72 online. The sample contained 350 autistic women (M age = 36.21, standard deviation [SD] = 10.10) and 322 nonautistic women (M age = 34.83, SD = 9.93), screened using the Autism Quotient. A principal component analysis and parallel analysis revealed a five-component solution that accounted for 40.40% of the total variance. The extracted components appear to be consistent with what is known about the way girls and women display their autistic traits and interpreted as (1) Imagination and play: Describes interest in fantasy, fiction, and reflection on the quality and content of imaginative play in childhood. (2) Camouflaging: Describes effortful attempts to reduce the visibility of autistic traits. (3) Sensory sensitivities: Describes sensory processing hyper- and hyposensitivities across various modalities. (4) Socializing: Describes barriers to social understanding and participation. (5) Interests: Describes age-advanced and nonstereotypically feminine interests. We observed significant differences between autistic and nonautistic women across all extracted components, and the total score. A receiver operating characteristic analysis indicated an excellent level of discrimination. When applying a cutoff score of 57, the GQ-ASC correctly identified 80.0% of cases. The modified GQ-ASC is an effective and highly discriminant screening tool for use in adult autistic women. It provides valuable insight into the shared features and experiences of this underrecognized and underrepresented subset of the autistic community.

History

Journal

Autism in Adulthood

Volume

2

Pagination

216-226

Location

New Rochelle, N.Y.

ISSN

2573-9581

eISSN

2573-959X

Language

eng

Publication classification

C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal

Copyright notice

2020, Mary Ann Liebert Inc.

Issue

3

Publisher

Mary Ann Liebert Inc

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