Validation of the abridged version of the autism-spectrum quotient (AQ-28) in the Arabic-speaking adult general population

Introduction

 

Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a complex neurodevelopmental condition characterized by social and communication challenges, along with restricted interests and repetitive behaviors. While significant advancements have been made in understanding and diagnosing ASD in children, research focusing on adults with ASD is still catching up. This gap is even wider in regions where access to standardized assessments in the dominant language might be limited.

A promising step towards bridging this gap comes from a recent study published in June 2024 titled “Validation of the abridged version of the autism-spectrum quotient (AQ-28) in the Arabic-speaking adult general population.” This research sheds light on the potential of the AQ-28, a shorter version of a widely used autism assessment tool, for use with Arabic-speaking adults.

The Challenges: Why Arabic Autism Measures Matter

 

The authors of the study point out a crucial concern – the underdevelopment of autism research in Arab countries. This lack of focus can be attributed, in part, to the scarcity of reliable and validated autism measures available in Arabic. Standardized assessments are essential for accurate diagnosis and research on the prevalence and characteristics of ASD within a specific population. By validating the AQ-28 in Arabic, researchers are taking a significant step towards establishing a valuable tool for the Arabic-speaking world.

The AQ-28: A Potential Solution for Arabic Speakers?

 

The research team behind the June 2024 study set out to evaluate the AQ-28’s psychometric properties for Arabic-speaking adults. In simpler terms, they assessed the tool’s validity (does it measure what it claims to measure?) and reliability (does it produce consistent results?). The study involved a substantial sample size – over 1000 participants from Lebanon. The majority of participants were females, with an average age of approximately 27.9 years.

Promising Results: Reliability and Assessing Core Traits

 

The findings of the study were encouraging. The Arabic version of the AQ-28 maintained a five-factor structure, mirroring the original English version. This structure reflects key aspects of autistic traits, such as social difficulties, detail-oriented thinking, and a preference for routine. This consistency suggests that the Arabic AQ-28 effectively captures these core dimensions of autism in Arabic-speaking adults.

Furthermore, the analysis indicated good internal consistency within the AQ-28 scores. Internal consistency refers to how well the questions within a test measure the same underlying construct. Strong internal consistency signifies that the AQ-28 produces reliable results across participants, strengthening its credibility as a measurement tool.

Sex Differences and Potential Link to Co-occurring Conditions

 

An interesting finding emerged regarding sex differences. The study revealed that males, on average, scored slightly higher on autistic traits compared to females on the AQ-28. This observation warrants further investigation in future research to understand the underlying reasons behind this discrepancy.

Another noteworthy aspect of the study involved the correlation between AQ-28 scores and measures of loneliness, depression, and anxiety. This suggests a potential role for the Arabic AQ-28 in identifying adults who might experience these co-occurring conditions alongside autistic traits. It’s important to remember that the AQ-28 is a screening tool, and a formal diagnosis should always involve a comprehensive evaluation by a qualified professional.

A Stepping Stone for Autism Research in Arabic Countries

 

This study provides valuable evidence for the AQ-28’s potential as a reliable and valid tool for measuring autistic traits in Arabic-speaking adults. This can be a significant leap forward for autism research in Arab countries. The ability to identify autistic traits in adults using a culturally appropriate measure opens doors for further exploration into the prevalence and characteristics of autism within these populations.

 

Additional Considerations

 

It’s important to acknowledge that the AQ-28 is a self-report questionnaire, and individual responses might be influenced by factors like social desirability or self-awareness. Future research can explore the AQ-28’s effectiveness alongside other diagnostic tools and in comparison with clinician-administered assessments.

Overall, the June 2024 study on the AQ-28 in Arabic offers a promising outlook for autism research in Arabic-speaking communities. By providing a culturally relevant screening tool, researchers can gain a deeper understanding of the experiences of adults with autism in these regions, ultimately paving the way for improved support and intervention strategies.

 

Source:

https://assets-eu.researchsquare.com/files/rs-4534793/v1/a9b870a1-a79b-4fe5-a660-3da011073047.pdf?c=1717656062

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