A meta-analysis of the social communication questionnaire: Screening for autism spectrum disorder

Steven R. Chesnut, Tianlan Wei, Lucy Barnard-Brak, David M. Richman

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations

Abstract

The current meta-analysis examines the previous research on the utility of the Social Communication Questionnaire as a screening instrument for autism spectrum disorder. Previously published reports have highlighted the inconsistencies between Social Communication Questionnaire-screening results and formal autism spectrum disorder diagnoses. The variations in accuracy resulted in some researchers questioning the validity of the Social Communication Questionnaire. This study systematically examined the accuracy of the Social Communication Questionnaire as a function of the methodological decisions made by researchers screening for autism spectrum disorder over the last 15 years. Findings from this study suggest that the Social Communication Questionnaire is an acceptable screening instrument for autism spectrum disorder (area under the curve = 0.885). Variations in methodological decisions, however, greatly influenced the accuracy of the Social Communication Questionnaire in screening for autism spectrum disorder. Of these methodological variations, using the Current instead of the Lifetime version of the Social Communication Questionnaire resulted in the largest detrimental effect (d = −3.898), followed by using the Social Communication Questionnaire with individuals younger than 4 years of age (d = −2.924) and relying upon convenience samples (d = −4.828 for clinical samples, −2.734 for convenience samples, and −1.422 for community samples). Directions for future research and implications for using the Social Communication Questionnaire to screen for autism spectrum disorder are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)920-928
Number of pages9
JournalAutism
Volume21
Issue number8
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 1 2017

Keywords

  • Social Communication Questionnaire
  • area under the curve
  • autism spectrum disorder
  • meta-analysis
  • receiver operating characteristic curve
  • screener accuracy

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