Cookies on this website

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Accept all cookies' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. If you click 'Reject all non-essential cookies' only necessary cookies providing core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility will be enabled. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

BACKGROUND: The concept of the 'broad phenotype' of autism refers to the finding that relatives of people with autism often have mild forms of autistic-like characteristics, such as social and communicative difficulties. This study used the Autism Spectrum Quotient (AQ), a questionnaire devised to assess features of the broad phenotype in adults, with parents of people with autism, to see whether they would be more likely to obtain extreme scores than a control group. METHODS: The AQ was administered to parents of 69 people with an autism spectrum disorder and parents of 52 controls. RESULTS: On two of the five subscales of the AQ, social skills and communication, parents of people with autism obtained higher scores than control parents. The other three scales, attention to detail, attention switching, and imagination, did not differentiate groups. The correlation between social skills and communication scales was .663. The scales can be combined to give an index of broad phenotype. CONCLUSIONS: The AQ appears to be sensitive to the broad phenotype, provided attention is restricted to the social skills and communication scales.

Original publication




Journal article


J Child Psychol Psychiatry

Publication Date





1431 - 1436


Adult, Autistic Disorder, Child, Communication, Female, Humans, Interpersonal Relations, Male, Parents, Phenotype, Self-Assessment, Surveys and Questionnaires