Validation of the Quantitative Checklist for Autism in Toddlers in an Italian Clinical Sample of Young Children With Autism and Other Developmental Disorders

Liliana Ruta, Flavia Chiarotti, Giuseppe Maurizio Arduino, Fabio Apicella, Elisa Leonardi, Roberta Maggio, Cristina Carrozza, Natasha Chericoni, Valeria Costanzo, Nazarena Turco, Gennaro Tartarisco, Antonella Gagliano, Carrie Allison, Simon Baron Cohen, Giovanni Pioggia, Filippo Muratori

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Background: The Quantitative Checklist for Autism in Toddlers (Q-CHAT) is parent-report screening questionnaire for detecting threshold and sub-threshold autistic features in toddlers. The Q-CHAT is a dimensional measure normally distributed in the general population sample and is able to differentiate between a group of children with a diagnosis of autism and unselected toddlers. Objectives: We aim to investigate the psychometric properties, score distribution, and external validity of the Q-CHAT in an Italian clinical sample of young children with autism versus children with developmental delay and typically developing children. Method: N = 126 typically developing children (TD), n = 139 children with autism, and n = 50 children presenting developmental delay (DD) were administered the Q-CHAT. Standardized measures of cognitive functions, language, and behaviors were also obtained. Results: The Q-CHAT scores were normally distributed and demonstrated adequate internal consistency and good item to total score correlations. The mean Q-CHAT score in the autism group was significantly higher than those found in the DD sample and TD children. No difference on the mean Q-CHAT score between DD and TD children was found. The accuracy of the Q-CHAT to discriminate between autism and TD was very good. Two different cut-points (27 and 31, respectively) maximized sensitivity and specificity for autism versus TD and DD, respectively. Finally, higher Q-CHAT scores were correlated with lower language and social communication skills. Conclusions: In clinical settings, the Q-CHAT demonstrated good psychometric properties and external validity to discriminate autism children not just from children with typical development but also from children with developmental delay.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)488
JournalFront. Psychiatry
Volume10
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2019

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