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

    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.

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

    Claire M. Brown , Tony Attwood , Michelle Garnett , and Mark A. Stokes

    Published Online:3 Sep 2020https://doi.org/10.1089/aut.2019.0054

    Abstract

    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 ( age = 36.21, standard deviation [SD] = 10.10) and 322 nonautistic women ( 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.

    Lay summary

    Why was this study done?

    A lot of autistic women do not get an accurate or timely autism diagnosis. We know that when they do receive an autism diagnosis, they often feel stronger in their identity and feel more confident in advocating for their needs. We wanted to find a quick and easy way for professionals to work out which women should be referred for an autism assessment. We also wanted to help autistic women who do not want to have an assessment done feel confident in self-identifying as autistic.

    What did the researchers do?

    We changed the wording of an autism questionnaire that was designed for younger girls, and had 350 adult autistic cisgender and trans women aged between 18 and 71 years complete it. We looked at answers in a way that told us which questions were most useful for telling apart autistic women and nonautistic women.

    What were the results of the study?

    We found that a number of questions were grouped together into different areas that were common for autistic women. These areas were as follows:

    (1)

    Imagination and play: Questions about interest in fantasy, fiction, and imaginative play in childhood.

    (2)

    Camouflaging: Questions about acting in certain ways to try to hide autistic traits.

    (3)

    Sensory sensitivities: Questions about feeling undersensitive or oversensitive to things such as touch, small, taste, and noise.

    (4)

    Socializing: Questions about feeling confused in social situations, and finding it difficult to join in.

    (5)

    Interests: Questions about interests that are not common for children who are the same age, and interests that are not common for many girls.

    What do these findings add to what was already known?

    There are a lot of ideas about autism that do not always apply to autistic women. These findings will hopefully help professionals and nonexperts understand autistic women better.

    What are potential weaknesses in the study?

    We do not know if any of the 350 autistic women who completed the survey have an intellectual disability, and we do not know if having an intellectual disability will change the results of the study. This is something that will be interesting to look into in the future.

    How will these findings help autistic adults now and in the future?

    The findings of our study can help doctors and mental health professionals work out which women should be assessed for autism. Our findings may also help to change attitudes about who can be autistic, and what autism looks like.

    Introduction

    Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD; henceforth, autism) is currently diagnosed at a rate of approximately three males to every one female,1 although some evidence suggests that the rate may be as low as 1.8:1.2 At present, there are a number of barriers that delay or prevent autistic girls and women from accessing assessment services. These include, although are not limited to, gendered assumptions about how autism presents and who it impacts1; an increased likelihood that female autistic traits will be attributed to other causes3,4; standardized assessment measures that may not be sensitive enough to capture autistic girls and women who experience and express their autism in unique and nuanced ways5–7; and active attempts by autistic girls and women to camouflage, or mask challenges related to their autistic traits to blend into social situations.8,9

    Source : www.liebertpub.com

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

    Request PDF | Am I Autistic? Utility of the Girls Questionnaire for Autism Spectrum Condition as an Autism Assessment in Adult Women | This study aimed to explore the structure of a modified version of the Girls Questionnaire for Autism Spectrum Condition (GQ-ASC; Attwood et al.... | Find, read and cite all the research you need on ResearchGate

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    Article

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

    June 2020Autism in Adulthood 2(3)

    DOI:10.1089/aut.2019.0054

    Project: Autism & female sexuality

    Authors: Claire M. Brown Deakin University Tony Attwood Michelle Garnett Mark Stokes Deakin University

    To read the full-text of this research, you can request a copy directly from the authors.

    Abstract

    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.

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

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

    Brown, Claire M., Attwood, Tony, Garnett, Michelle and Stokes, Mark A. 2020, Am I Autistic? Utility of the Girls Questionnaire for Autism Spectrum Condition as an Autism Assessment in Adult Women, vol. 2, no. 3, pp. 216-226, doi: 10.1089/aut.2019.0054.

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    Name Description MIMEType Size Downloads

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

    Author(s) Brown, Claire M.

    Attwood, Tony Garnett, Michelle

    Stokes, Mark A. orcid.org/0000-0001-6488-4544

    Journal name Autism in Adulthood

    Volume number 2 Issue number 3 Start page 216 End page 226 Total pages 11

    Publisher Mary Ann Liebert Inc

    Place of publication New Rochelle, N.Y.

    Publication date 2020-09-03

    ISSN 2573-9581 2573-959X Keyword(s) autistic women screening

    Summary 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.

    Language eng

    DOI 10.1089/aut.2019.0054

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    HERDC Research category C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal

    Copyright notice ©2020, Mary Ann Liebert Inc.

    Persistent URL http://hdl.handle.net/10536/DRO/DU:30140020

    Document type: Journal Article

    Collections: Faculty of Health

    School of Psychology

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