Reliability of the Commonly Used and Newly-Developed Autism Measures

Thomas W. Frazier, Andrew J. O. Whitehouse, Susan R. Leekam, Sarah J. Carrington, Gail A. Alvares, David W. Evans, Antonio Y. Hardan, Mirko Uljarević

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: The aim of the present study was to compare scale and conditional reliability derived from item response theory analyses among the most commonly used, as well as several newly developed, observation, interview, and parent-report autism instruments.

Methods: When available, data sets were combined to facilitate large sample evaluation. Scale reliability (internal consistency, average corrected item-total correlations, and model reliability) and conditional reliability estimates were computed for total scores and for measure subscales.

Results: Generally good to excellent scale reliability was observed for total scores for all measures, scale reliability was weaker for RRB subscales of the ADOS and ADI-R, reflecting the relatively small number of items for these measures. For diagnostic measures, conditional reliability tended to be very good (> 0.80) in the regions of the latent trait where ASD and non-ASD developmental disability cases would be differentiated. For parent-report scales, conditional reliability of total scores tended to be excellent (> 0.90) across very wide ranges of autism symptom levels, with a few notable exceptions.

Conclusions: These findings support the use of all of the clinical observation, interview, and parent-report autism symptom measures examined, but also suggest specific limitations that warrant consideration when choosing measures for specific clinical or research applications.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Autism and Developmental Disorders
Early online date5 Apr 2023
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 5 Apr 2023

Bibliographical note

Copyright © 2023, The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature. This version of the article has been accepted for publication, after peer review and is subject to Springer Nature’s AM terms of use [], but is not the Version of Record and does not reflect post-acceptance improvements, or any corrections. The Version of Record is available online at:


  • Autism
  • Reliability
  • Item response theory
  • Observation
  • Interview
  • Questionnaire


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